Friday 30 September 2016


Let me start by saying I love what I do. I have a passion for it. I cannot think of anything else I would rather be doing. But lately I don’t like what I’m seeing in my profession. A lot of wannabe’s and cowboys. Add to that YouTube University and you have a lot crap out there. So I’m going to tell you what you won’t get should you decide to hire me as your Professional Personal Trainer (PPT).
·         You won’t see half naked pictures of me on my website, Facebook page or on my phone
·         You won’t see any before and after pictures of my clients. There’s no need. I know what they have accomplished and so do they. That’s all that matters.
·         I am not a “sports person”. I must admit I don’t really know what that is but seems like everybody is one
·         I am not a “public figure”. Again, not sure what that is only because the people who classify themselves a “public figure” I have never heard of.
·         I will not bore you with my life story or every amazing and incredible thing I have ever done in my life
·         I will not sell you products or supplements. This is unethical and a clear violation of trust between a client and PPT.
·         I will not give you advice on subjects that I am not qualified to do so.
·         I will not be an enabler
·         I will not tell you what you want to hear just to make you happy.
·         I do not have different rates for different packages. Like the gold package, silver package, bronze package. What that says to me is “if you don’t pay me enough, I will only give you minimal service”. Sure glad surgeons don’t work that way!
·          I will not workout with you or do cardio sessions with you. This too is very unethical. It’s your time, your money. You’re not paying me to workout with you.
·         I won’t come to your house. You don’t need me to jump up and down and run around the dining table 25 times. Just buy a DVD 

I think that’s about it. I’m sure right now you may be thinking to yourself “ Fine! So what do you do ?. Monday , I am going to tell you all the things you do get if you decide to hire me as your PPT. Some of them might surprise you. Thank you for taking the time to read this and remember:

Training prepares you, Education sustains you   

Wednesday 28 September 2016

How much water do you need ?

 You probably know that it's important to drink plenty of fluids when the temperatures soar outside. But staying hydrated is a daily necessity, no matter what the thermometer says. Unfortunately, many of us aren't getting enough to drink, especially older adults. "Older people don't sense thirst as much as they did when they were younger. And that could be a problem if they're on a medication that may cause fluid loss, such as a diuretic," says Dr. Julian Seifter, a kidney specialist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
How we use water
Water keeps every system in the body functioning properly. The Harvard Special Health Report 6-Week Plan for Health Eating notes that water has many important jobs, such as:
•carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells

•flushing bacteria from your bladder 

•aiding digestion

•preventing constipation

•normalizing blood pressure

•stabilizing the heartbeat

•cushioning joints

•protecting organs and tissues

•regulating body temperature

•maintaining electrolyte (sodium) balance.

Giving your body enough fluids to carry out those tasks means that you're staying hydrated.If you don't drink enough water, you risk becoming dehydrated. Warning signs of dehydration include weakness, low blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, or urine that's dark in color.
So how much water should you drink? Most people need about four to six cups of water each day.
     Water needs vary 
The daily four-to-six cup rule is for generally healthy people. It's possible to take in too much water if you have certain health conditions, such as thyroid disease or kidney, liver, or heart problems; or if you're taking medications that make you retain water, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opiate pain medications, and some antidepressants.
How much water should you drink if you fit into that category? There's no one-size-fits-all answer. Dr. Seifter says water intake must be individualized, and you should check with your doctor to be sure you're getting the right amount. 
But even a healthy person's water needs will vary, especially if you're losing water through sweat because you're exercising, or because you're outside on a hot day. If you're wondering how much water should you drink on those occasions, speak with your doctor, but a general rule of thumb for healthy people is to drink two to three cups of water per hour, or more if you're sweating heavily.
      Tips for staying hydrated  
It's not just water that keeps you hydrated. All beverages containing water contribute toward your daily needs. And it's a myth that caffeinated beverages or those containing alcohol are dehydrating because they make you urinate. They do, but over the course of the day, the water from these beverages still leads to a net positive contribution to total fluid consumption, according to an article in the 2015 Harvard Men's Health Watch. 

Of course, there are many reasons why water is still the better choice. Remember, sugary drinks can lead to weight gain and inflammation, which can increase your risk for developing diseases such as diabetes. Too much caffeine can give you the jitters or keep you from sleeping. And, alcohol intake should be limited to one drink per day for women, and 1-2 drinks per day for men. 

To ward off dehydration, drink fluids gradually, throughout the day. An easy way to do this is to have a drink at each meal, as well as socially, or with medicine.
And know that you also get fluids from water-rich foods, such as salads, fruit, and applesauce.
Bottom Line : Dont over complicate it. Simply try to always have a small bottle of water within arms reach. This will be a visual reminder to keep sipping through out the day !

Monday 26 September 2016

Being mentally tough: it’s within all of us!

 Mental toughness is something most people want to have in abundance. Andy Lane argues that all people can show mental toughness if the situation is life threatening, or the goal is sufficiently important it activates a psychological state characterised by positive beliefs on coping with the pain from intense exercise. This blog provides guidance on how people can access their mental toughness.

At a glance
• Mental toughness is a highly popular concept mainly because its name is so ppealing.       Almost all aspiring athletes will want to be seen by others and see themselves as mentally tough.
• Athletes from a wide range of sports can display mental toughness, but this article focuses on coping with sensations of fatigue that stem from intense training. This type of training is common for most sport and physical activity.
• Mental toughness is widely debated in the academic literature, and although there is a great deal of debate on its nature, a common element is that it describes the capability to relentlessly pursue personal goals and be able to cope with adversity including sensations of fatigue and pain.
• When the goal is important enough, and where the athlete is highly motivated to pursue that goal, then an athlete will accept experiencing intense pain. A function of intense pain is to question whether the goal is worth pursuing. I propose that it’s not a lack of mental toughness that limits performance, but that the goal is not worth the suffering it brings.
What is mental toughness?
Interest in mental toughness by the academic, coaching and lay community is hardly surprising. Mental toughness is a set of interrelated concepts that describe athletes that are highly competitive, committed, selfmotivated, cope effectively, and maintain concentration in pressurized situations, persist when the going gets tough, and retain high levels of self-belief even after setbacks. Research in mental toughness began gathering momentum following Graham Jones’  article “What is this thing called mental toughness? An investigation of elite sport performers”. Subsequent research has clarified and expanded knowledge in this area and further studies have demonstrated that interventions such as imagery, goal-setting and self-talk can help athletes build mental toughness . As a crude summary of developments in this area, researchers have made theoretical leaps and bounds to define and clarify theconcepts, and, importantly, kept an ongoing focus on how to transfer theory to practice. Research into mental toughness is flourishing and this can only be helpful as the concepts it covers have a huge interests to athletes and coaches.
However, the popularity of the topic and focus on elite athletes has led to questions on the extent to which non-elite athletes are mentally tough . In this article, I argue that the ability to display mental toughness is within all people and, conscious of that fact, they should learn when they can activate it.
What evidence is there that we are all mentally tough?
People who might seem normal or average frequently display mental toughness in potentially life-threatening situations. Possibly the most powerful literature on the area of pain management is the study of pregnant women going through childbirth . An industry has developed to help women manage pain during childbirth; however, it is worth noting that most pain-management interventions are relatively modern (within the last 100 years). Qualitative accounts of women going through childbirth without pain management provide detailed descriptions of mental toughness characterized by dealing with thoughts of death and coping with intense pain .
Evolutionary psychologists have argued that humans have evolved to cope with pain and this coping response is hard wired and that we only access this response when situation demands call for it . In situations such as childbirth or other potentially life-threatening situations such as military endeavours , intense emotions are activated. Emotions have been found to mask sensations of pain . If an individual is aware that this is the process, and effective coping systems are with them, albeit dormant most of the time, then they have the potential to show an abundant amount of mental toughness. If an athlete perceives that sensations of pain are something that has to be endured in order to achieve goals, then they have opened the door to activating their inner mental toughness. 
Activating beliefs of mental toughness: “if he/she can do it, so can I
People have a great deal more resources than they believe they possess and it is the ability to access these resources that is important. However, prior to being able to access them, the first step is to recognise that they exist; that is, say to yourself you can cope with a lot more than you think. One way of changing your view of how much you can cope with is to watch seemingly normal people do extra ordinary challenges. One example is Prof Greg Whyte’s work on Comic Relief challenges, which include some extra-ordinary performance such as swimming the English Channel (David Walliams), running repeated marathons (Eddie Izzard), and swimming in very cold water (Davina McCall). It’s worth remembering the qualities needed to be a comedian/actor bear little resemblance with those needed to be an athlete. Research shows that people learn by watching others and if someone of a similar age, gender, and experience of the task at hand succeeds, then this can develop the thought that “if he/she can do it, so can I”
Is the goal worth it?
A key aspect that can help decide if someone activates her/his mental toughness is whether the goal is sufficiently important. When we ask athletes whether the goal is important, they tend to report positively. On a 1-10 scale (1 is not important and 10 is highly important), few athletes report a goal is lower than 5, and the variation in terms of importance often starts at 8 . Therefore, using a rating scale does not reliably provide useful information.
The task below can help you identify which goal is the most important. Rather than rate the importance, it helps the individual work out which goal is more important, and whether trying to achieve one goal might influence attempts to attain another. 
Task: Rate and rank your goals
What is your goal? Reflection on the challenge the goal presents
1. To run a sub 3-hour marathon “This has been a goal for a while and whilst I have come close (within seconds), I have not achieved it”
2. To run 5km in sub-17 mins “I have come close to this, but not achieved it. I find the marathon training leaves me a bit tired at times”
Reflection and evaluation
The aim is to compare and contrast the two goals and examine if they could conflict. Having time to go for 2goals can be an issue and so prioritising one over the other in terms of when they will be attempted can help. In this case, the athlete needs to focus on one of these goals almost exclusively of the other. Placing the emphasis onto speed required for the 5km and intense pain from lactic acid associated with speed work is a different type of coping than that needed for a marathon. Running pace in the marathon would feel slow in comparison to running 5km, but mental toughness is likely to stem from being able to manage the supposedly slower pace over the final stages.
The suggestion is that the athlete decides which goal to focus on and commits to achieving that. The two goals are arguably in conflict both physiologically and psychologically.
Your goal
What is your goal? Reflection on the challenge the goal presents

Using psychological skills to build mental toughness
Having identified the goal and worked out that you are committed to achieving that goal; the next step is to develop resources ready to meet the challenges that you could face; that is, getting the qualities that might be described as mental toughness ready for when they are needed. Research has found that use of psychological skills such as imagery and self-talk associate with mental toughness . Both imagery and self-talk are strategies where an individual changes her/his internal dialogue to be able to do a task successfully. Imagery can help achieve this via use of images and self-talk via language. 
Example of developing mental toughness in a soccer player…
A young professional soccer player has to participate in a multistage shuttle run test (bleep test) as part of his club’s conditioning and assessment programme. The bleep test is progressive and maximal and therefore he will run until exhaustion. The player believes that being one of the fittest players will help him gain an established place in the team. He also believes that the coach likes players to show mental toughness. Therefore, on the day of the test, getting a high score on the bleep test is an important goal, and the player needs to accept that he must produce a maximal performance and this will require coping with intense fatigue. To develop strategies to show mental toughness, the player should examine their inner dialogue and thoughts when doing similar tasks. Even if the player has not done the test before, there will be a time when he actively made a decision to stop exercising or slowed down; that is, he weighed up current feelings of fatigue against what was causing them, and made the decision to slow down. It is these thoughts and perceptions of fatigue that need to be addressed via self-talk training and imagery; thoughts that say slowdown will not be accepted if thoughts to achieve a certain goal are more powerful. And the decision to slow down is based on perceptions of fatigue, and the individual needs to increase the point where these thoughts occur.  In conclusion, mental toughness is something humans have in abundance and can access this when priorities demand. Where these goals are voluntary where the decision to abandon the goal is an option rather than involuntary, such as life-threatening situations or childbirth, then reflecting on whether the pursuit of the goal
is worth the pain that will be experienced can help clarify whether managing the pain will be worth it. Where goals are appraised as highly important, then psychological skills such as self-talk and imagery can help an individual re-programme how they will respond when unwanted thoughts occur during performance.

Monday 19 September 2016

Can Superfoods Equal Super Performance?

 Meet three of today’s superfood darlings: açai berries, beetroot juice, and curcumin. What does the research say regarding their impact on athletic performance, recovery, and overall health? Here’s the delicious news.
Superfood” has been a buzzword for years, but it’s really more of a marketing term than an official food-industry classification. Still, superfoods generally have one thing in common: They pack a significant nutrient punch. They may be high in one nutrient in particular, or they might contain several phytonutrients, antioxidants, other vitamins, and/or minerals. And since these perks come in a small volume of mostly low-calorie food options, they have an even greater appeal in our weight-obsessed culture. Some superfood all-stars of the recent past include blueberries, dark chocolate, oats, pistachios, and dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach.
     Superfoods can carry many health benefits. They may play a role in preventing serious conditions (like cancer and high blood pressure), decreasing inflammation (common in heart disease and stroke patients), increasing energy, reducing joint pain, and maintaining a healthy weight, to name just a few. (8) In this article, we’ll be shining some light on three superfoods that may play a role in enhancing athletic performance and recovery, while providing additional health benefits. First, though, a few words of caution.

Improve Your Superfood Savvy
   Superfoods are great to add to an overall balanced diet. However, if all you consumed were the latest and greatest superfoods, you would be at risk for nutrient deficiencies, as well as potential toxicity from the large amounts of certain nutrients (particularly vitamins K and A) found in some of these foods. People most at risk for toxicity are those with health conditions such as thyroid disorders. A few more pointers about adding superfoods to your diet.
Vary your selections. With some things, more is better. But with most foods, even “super” ones, more is just more. Excluding, limiting, or avoiding specific foods may decrease your nutrient variety and intake. Aim for a variety of produce, and you will take in a wider array of nutrients, not to mention flavors.What’s a healthy approach to incorporating superfoods? Figure out how you can add them to your rotation of wonderful foods. For example, when having salads you do not need to “all hail to kale” and shun other leafy greens. Instead, try mixed greens that include kale, arugula, and (a personal favorite) bibb lettuce for salads.
Rethink supplements. As a general rule, try to consume the majority of your nutrients from food, and use supplementation to fill in gaps where increased need is indicated due to deficiency, health complications, or a desire for improved performance. Always know where your supplements come from; make sure you purchase them from certified and regulated companies. Look for those whose label indicates “USP Verified” or NSF/ANSI 173 certification. Supplements taken by athletes may also be labeled “NSF Certified for Sport,” which assures that they do not contain any ingredients that have been banned by major athletic organizations. (9)
Do some research.  I advise caution when any food—or diet, type of exercise, etc.—touts itself as the cure-all for your weight, health, or performance concerns. Look at study results on reliable websites (ending in .gov, .edu, or .org, for instance), or talk to a registered dietitian or healthcare professional before you buy (or buy into) a particular claim, especially if it sounds too good to be true. 

Açai berries, beetroot juice, and curcumin are the focus of this article. Let’s look at what the research says about these three superfoods and what benefits they may offer to athletes.
Açai Berries
Açai berries, which come from the açai palm (typically found in South America), are a reddish-purple grapelike berry. These fruits may have more antioxidants (particularly anthocyanins) than other berries such as blueberries and cranberries. Antioxidants are important in fighting free radicals—harmful compounds that damage healthy cells and may increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2) states that consuming the berries does have a beneficial impact on performance, as well as on health and prevention of disease. However, more research is needed to determine to what extent the impact directly relates to the açai berry.
According to the Mayo Clinic, açai berries are associated with many health claims such as weight loss, an improved cholesterol profile, increased immunity, decreased joint pain, and even improved skin appearance. Research findings regarding these claims however, are inconsistent, so further investigation is needed.
The great thing is that when açai berries are consumed as a food and not in supplement form, there is very minimal risk and possibly many potential health benefits. To incorporate them into your diet, try adding a handful of açai berries into your smoothie for a tasty and a nutritious treat.
Beetroot Juice 
The red beet, more specifically the beetroot juice made from it, shows promise for increasing performance and reducing blood pressure. The juice specifically has been used in many studies to determine its health and performance benefits. (3) Beetroot juice has been studied for potential benefits in improved performance by lowering the muscles’ oxygen demand and increasing muscle efficiency, specifically in endurance exercise. Also, beets are naturally high in nitrates, and increased nitrates in the body have been shown to reduce blood pressure. This has many potential benefits for overall heart health.
Beets are high in fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals such as folate and potassium. The rich coloring of beets comes from betalains, pigments with powerful antioxidant potential.
There are some potential safety concerns regarding the amount of nitrates consumed, however. Nitrates may combine with other dietary nutrients to form nitrosamines that may be carcinogenic. More research is needed for this to be definitive. The World Health Organization recommends an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 3.65 mg/kg/day. (4)
Dosing concerns reinforce consuming this superfood in food form first (over supplements). Approximately ½ cup of beetroot juice or 15-ounce can of beets, or 1½ cups of roasted beets. Add some roasted beets to your mixed greens for a start to a delicious and nutritious salad.
Turcumin is a bright yellow compound found in the spice turmeric, as well as in ginger. This substance has been touted for its anti-inflammatory benefits for exercise recovery, as well as its ability to decrease joint pain and prevent some types of chronic disease.
In particular, curcumin is being studied for its benefits on decreased post-exercise muscle soreness (5), improving recovery between training sessions. Research is also being conducted regarding curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties, which may play a role in cancer prevention, heart health, autoimmune diseases, and digestive disorders. Curcumin is believed to inhibit inflammatory enzymes and therefore mediate the inflammatory response. (6)
To add curcumin to your diet, try a South Asian dish made with turmeric, such as curry. If you are not a fan of curry, you can use the spice in smoothies, sprinkle it over eggs in an omelet, or mix it into hummus. . Research has found that 1½ teaspoons of turmeric is safe for consumption for anti-inflammatory properties. (7) 




Sunday 18 September 2016

Purify Your River

    First and foremost,thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I understand that in today’s society we all lead very busy lives with many hurdles preventing us from achieving what we set out to do, despite our best intentions. Improving our health being a prime example.
   I’ve kept this blog concise as I believe in quality over quantity. The purpose of this blog is to provide you with an overview of key principles to get you started on the road to better health. If you apply these principles, over time incorporating
them into your daily life, I assure you… slowly but surely you’ll most definitely improve your health.
    As a result of working as a Professional Personal Trainer for over thirty years , I have had the privilege of working alongside and learning from a number of leading Naturopaths, Nutritionists,Physiotherapists, Doctors and Fitness Trainers. I have also had the opportunity to work with an extremely diverse array of people from those seeking dramatic weight loss to weight gain; to those with chronic diseases such as cancer; to power lifters and elite athletes across a variety of sports.
                                             The devils in the detail
         Through all of these experiences, common health related themes have emerged. Threads if you like that tie everything together and result in better health. The health and fitness industry can be very confusing, littered with many claims and misconceptions making it difficult to know what really matters. But the reality is that maintaining good health is actually a simple process, not necessarily easy, but fairly simple. If you disagree with any of my principles, that’s great. In fact, I encourage skepticism. If you’re skeptical it means you’re more likely do your own research, check out the facts and perhaps even apply the principle in question to see if you notice a difference. But I don’t encourage pessimism. I haven’t seen many people improve their health who refuse to try something new before checking the facts. I encourage everyone to maintain an open mind and if you can do this, you have already taken the first step towards better health.
     Ultimately, your health comes down to your beliefs. Your beliefs determine what you perceive as “healthy” which in turn influences your health related choices and behavior. So with that in mind I want you to think of your health as if it were a river with many streams feeding it and each stream being considered either positive or negative. For example,drinking 2-3 litres of water a day would be considered a positive stream and let’s say, a bottle of wine a night over time would be considered a negative stream. Applying this idea more broadly, if you love your job and look forward to the day ahead, this would be considered a positive stream. However, staying in a job you hate and constantly feeling stressed is definitely a negative stream. City smog or country air? Fish fingers or fresh fish?
Get the picture?
      All of these streams influence your river of health. The more positive streams theclearer the river. The more negative, the murkier the water will become and rest assured that over time this will take it’s toll. The health statistics in Australia,America,Great Btitain and other westernized countries are scary and getting worse. One in three people being obese, with over 50% of people on some form of medication or prescription drug.

My message is simple and clear - Prevention is better than cure so start making
changes now to purify your river of health before it’s too late.
One last thing before i get into it. Health and wellbeing is a lifestyle. A choice of habits and small decisions made on a daily basis, collectively accumulating over time. There is no fast track or instant result. You may already be applying most of the principles I am going to share with you over the next few days, which is great. But if you’re not don’t worry, just start to bring them in slowly, one at a time. I recommend you start to incorporate a new principal every 3-4 weeks. This should be enough time to ingrain them so they become habitual. This means you don’t have to consciously think about them and can move on to tackle the next principle. If you try taking on to many at once it’s likely you’ll feel overwhelmed and put it all into the ‘too hard basket’ and stick to the habits you’re already playing out daily.  

Bottom Line: All behaviour expands. Good behaviour gets better,bad behaviour gets worse. Write down the top five negative habits you would like to change and the top five positive habits you would like to have that you don’t already have. Take one from the negative list and one from the positive list. Now take the next 3-4 weeks getting rid of the bad habit and adopting the good habit. Over the coming i will be giving you 10 principals to follow that will get you to a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Thursday 15 September 2016

The Incredible Benefits of High-Quality Protein

Muscle Maintenance
Older adults gradually lose muscle mass and strength as part of the aging process. This loss of muscle, known as sarcopenia, can lead to weakness, frailty and a higher risk of falls and injury. But research suggests that getting adequate dietary protein can help prevent or slow sarcopenia. A study of older men and women found that those who ate the most protein-rich foods lost approximately 40 percent less muscle mass over three years compared to those who ate the least amount of protein. Research shows that 25-30 grams of high-quality protein per meal may be optimal to maintain healthy muscles and bones for adults.
Weight Loss
When people on a calorie-restricted diet ate protein foods for breakfast, like eggs, they reported that their appetite was satisfied longer. Also,eating an egg breakfast versus a bagel breakfast helped dieters lose more weight. In addition, a decreased ratio of dietary carbohydrate to protein may improve blood lipid profiles duringweight loss.
Energy for the Day
Several studies have demonstrated the cognitive benefits of eating breakfast, such as improved memory recall time, improved grades and higher test scores.10 In a recent study, eating eggs for breakfast helped dieters feel more energetic than those who ate a bagel breakfast of equal calories.
Better Blood Sugar Level Maintenance
High-quality protein provides steady and sustained energy because it does not cause a surge in blood sugar or insulin levels, which can lead to a rebound effect or energy “crash” as levels drop.
Weight Maintenance
Following weight loss, adults who consumed diets higher in protein were better able
to manage their weight than adults on a lower protein diet. In fact, the group that consumed a diet with a greater percent of total calories from protein had smaller waist circumferences and were better able to maintain weight loss. 
Bottom Line : Protein is essential for good overall health, not just building muscles.  Every time you sit down to eat be able to look at your plate and identify your healthy source of protein.

Avoid These Exercises

Upright Rows
The problem with this exercise is in the positioning of your arms.This position creates what is called an "internal rotation". Every time you raise the weight a small tendon in your shoulder gets pinched(known as impingement) by the bones in the shoulder.Over time the tendon will gradually become worn down and damaged. It's not a matter of if it will eventually wear out but when.  

Behind the neck shoulder press or behind the neck lat pull down
These are the two that will wreck your shoulders. This time it's the "external rotation"that will cause the damage. With your elbows or hands behind your ears the rotator cuff can no longer stabilise the shoulder joint. This action will cause the joint itself to "grind" every time you do a rep. Over time this can cause serious damage to your shoulders.Never do any type of exercise where you need to place your hands or your elbows, what i call the high five position, behind your ears.

The bent knee sit up
Walk into any gym and you will see people lying on their back,knee's bent, doing dozens of sit ups. This type of action causes the hip flexor's to pull directly on your spine creating a tremendous amount of strain on your lower back. This exercise will certainly make any bad back worse or create a back problem.

Dumbbell flyes
Remember that gravity always pulls straight down.Because of that this exercise puts an extreme amount of tension on your biceps and your shoulders.Dumbbell flys takes the biceps and the shoulders deep into their point of "insertion" and this is always a high risk movement. Add to that,it causes very little chest activation, its just not worth the risk. Your much better off doing cable flyes or the pec dec.

Lying leg press
This exercise is very popular because it allows you to load up a ton of weight and give the appearance of being incredibly strong. The leg press is an extremely dangerous exercise for your back. As your knee's come down to your chest , your back begins to round out or flatten. It will actually bubble out. At that point the lower part of your spine ,the lumbar vertebra's, begin to separate and pull apart. This is never a good thing. Also, because your hips don't lower you use very little hamstrings. I recommend giving this one a miss.

Squats with plates under your heel's
People put little plates under their heels for one of two reasons. 1.lack of ankle flexibility or 2.they believe it hits the quadriceps harder. Lets deal with number 1 first. You would be much better off improving the range of motion in your ankles first. This way there would no need to use the plates. Number 2. There is no evidence that squatting this way recruits more quad muscles. Here are the problems with using plates under your heels. The biggest and most serious problem is that it cause a sheering on your knee cap and your ACL in the knee joint. This over time can lead to serious knee problems. In some cases ,surgery. If you look closely, there is a small gap between the plate and the balls of the foot. What this means is the centre part of the foot has virtually no support.

Helicopter twist or rotary torso twist
I'm sure we have seen somebody with a bar or broom stick across their back twisting from side to side. Your disk's and your spine are not designed to twist. It will,but its not made for that. The disk in your spine and the vertebrae that make up your spine are designed to compress. Like a tire. Let me add. It does not work your stomach and it will not get rid of your lovehandles.

There you have it. I hope this has helped you in some way. My final reccomendation to you is to avoid all of the exercise's i have discussed.
Stay Focused

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Sports, Exercise, and the Benefits of Physical Activity for Individuals with Autism

      Autism is a complex neurobiological, developmental disorder that is typically diagnosed in childhood and often lasts throughout a person's lifetime. The hallmark characteristics of autism include an impaired ability to communicate and relate to others socially, a restricted range of activities, and repetitive behaviors such as following very specific routines. While the causes of autism are unknown and preventative measures have yet to be discovered, there does exist effective behavioral therapy that can result in significant improvements for many young children with autism. The most widely used behavioral intervention programs focus on developing communication, social, and cognitive skills. However, new research and anecdotal evidence suggest that some alternative therapeutic choices that include sports, exercise, and other physical activities can be a useful adjunct to traditional behavioral interventions, leading to improvement in symptoms, behaviors, and quality of life for individuals with autism.
      Physical activity is important for children with and without disabilities alike as it promotes a healthy lifestyle, but can benefit individuals with autism in unique ways. In the U.S., 16% of children ages 2-19 are overweight, whereas the prevalence of overweight among children with ASD is increased to 19% with an additional 36% at risk for being overweight.1 This means that more than half of all children with ASD are either overweight or at risk. Being overweight can put children at increased risk for numerous health problems, both in childhood and as adults, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, and even depression. The effects of these conditions may take an even greater toll on individuals with autism in combination with common autism symptoms and some highly co-morbid conditions such as gastrointestinal problems as well as depression and anxiety. 
      It has been suggested that decreased physical activity is the primary reason for the increased rate of overweight in children with autism, while unusual dietary patterns and the use of antipsychotic prescription drugs that can lead weight gain may also contribute.1,2 Participation in physical activity may be challenging for individuals with autism because of reasons such as limited motor functioning,3 low motivation,4 difficulty in planning,5 and difficulty in self-monitoring.6 Increased auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli may too prove challenging for affected individuals.7 Furthermore, physical activity involving social interaction such as team sports can present a difficult situation for someone with autism. However, if implemented appropriately, the addition of physical activity to an autism intervention program can help overcome many of these challenges and improve ones overall quality of life.
     It is not surprising to discover that physical activity has been shown to improve fitness levels and general motor function of individuals with autism. A study of a 9-month treadmill walking program on weight reduction in adolescents with severe autism revealed that the program significantly decreased body mass index among the participants. Additionally, as time progressed through the study, the frequency, duration, speed, and elevation of the treadmill walking all increased, indicating a general rise in exercise capacity and physical fitness.8 In a study of swimming training and water exercise among children with autism, ten weeks of hydrotherapy which included three, 60-minute sessions per week, resulted in significant increases in fitness levels indicated by changes in balance, speed, agility, strength, flexibility, and endurance.9 
      Research has also demonstrated that increased aerobic exercise can significantly decrease the frequency of negative, self-stimulating behaviors that are common among individuals with autism, while not decreasing other positive behaviors.10 Behaviors such as body rocking, spinning, head-nodding, hand flapping, object-tapping, and light gazing, that have been shown to interfere with positive social behavior and learning,11,12,13 can thus be controlled by the use of exercise. Additionally, exercise can discourage aggressive and self-injurious behavior14 while improving attention span.15 In this study, aerobic exercise included 20 minutes of mildly strenuous jogging, however the aforementioned swimming and water exercise study also revealed a significant decrease in stereotypical behaviors in children with autism following a 60 minute session in the pool.16 One theory behind these findings is that the highly structured routines, or repetitive behaviors involved in running or swimming, may be similar to and/or distract from those self-stimulating, repetitive behaviors associated with autism. 
     Besides improving fitness, motor function, and behavior in individuals with autism, among the most important advantages of physical activity are the social implications of participating in sports and exercise. Physical activity can promote self-esteem, increase general levels of happiness, and can lead to positive social outcomes, all highly beneficial outcomes for individuals with autism.17,18,19 For those with autism who are able to participate in team sports, this presents an opportunity to develop social relationships among teammates and learn how to recognize the social cues required for successful performance on the field or court. However, individuals that prefer individual sports such as running or swimming that do not rely as heavily on social cues may still benefit from the positive attributes of physical activity while forming social relationships with coaches or trainers. In all cases, participating in sports provides individuals with autism with a role in society that may not have existed otherwise.
      While there is evidence to support the role of physical activity in improving autism symptoms, behaviors and life-outcomes, sports and exercise should not replace proven behavioral interventions, but may be effective supplements to these therapies and potentially enhance the benefits. In fact, many of the key components of a successful physical activity program for individuals with autism mirror those that make up some of the most common treatments and behavioral interventions. For instance teaching new skills to children by breaking them down into smaller, organized tasks and then rewarding them for successful achievement is a core component of proven interventions such as ABA and TEACCH.20,21 This technique can be readily implemented in teaching physical education to children with autism. 
      There is increasing interest in establishing program guidelines for enhancing physical activity among individuals with autism. A major reason for this is because research suggests that autism prevalence is increasing and has reached an all-time high. This means that there will be an increasing number of children with autism in schools, physical education classes, and on sports teams. While different individuals with autism may face different challenges in participating in physical activity, these children should still be given the opportunity to experience the benefits of physical activity.22 And while the results may vary, based on all the available research and that which has been presented in this paper, the potential behavioral, physiological, emotional, and social benefits of physical activity for individuals with autism are numerous and should be further explored. 

Authors: Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Autism Speaks and
Michael Rosanoff, MPH, Assistant Director of Research and Public Health, Autism Speaks


Monday 12 September 2016

Higher Consumption of Unsaturated Fats Linked With Lower Mortality

This study will once and for all, answer all of your questions regarding how much fat you should consume and more importantly the specific types of fats you should consume.
For immediate release:  July 5, 2016
Boston, MA – Consuming higher amounts of unsaturated fats was associated with lower mortality, according to a study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In a large study population followed for more than three decades, researchers found that higher consumption of saturated and trans fats was linked with higher mortality compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrates. Most importantly, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats conferred substantial health benefits. This study provides further support for the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that emphasize the types of fat rather than total amount of fat in the diet.
The study is the most detailed and powerful examination to date on how dietary fats impact health. It suggests that replacing saturated fats like butter, lard, and fat in red meat with unsaturated fats from plant-based foods—like olive oil, canola oil, and soybean oil—can confer substantial health benefits and should continue to be a key message in dietary recommendations.
The study was published online July 5, 2016 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“There has been widespread confusion in the biomedical community and the general public in the last couple of years about the health effects of specific types of fat in the diet,” said Dong Wang, a doctoral candidate, SD ’16, in the Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard Chan School and lead author of the study. “This study documents important benefits of unsaturated fats, especially when they replace saturated and trans fats.” Read a Q&A with Wang about the study on the Nutrition Source.
The study included 126,233 participants from two large long-term studies—the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study—who answered survey questions every 2-4 years about their diet, lifestyle, and health for up to 32 years. During the follow-up, 33,304 deaths were documented. Researchers from Harvard Chan School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined the relationship between types of fats in the participants’ diets and overall deaths among the group during the study period, as well as deaths due to cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and respiratory disease.
Different types of dietary fat had different associations with mortality, the researchers found. Trans fats—on their way to being largely phased out of food—had the most significant adverse impact on health. Every 2% higher intake of trans fat was associated with a 16% higher chance of premature death during the study period. Higher consumption of saturated fats was also linked with greater mortality risk. When compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrate, every 5% ncrease in saturated fat intake was associated with an 8% higher risk of overall mortality.
Conversely, intake of high amounts of unsaturated fats—both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated—was associated with between 11% and 19% lower overall mortality compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrates. Among the polyunsaturated fats, both omega-6, found in most plant oils, and omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and soy and canola oils, were associated with lower risk of premature death.
The health effects of specific types of fats depended on what people were replacing them with, the researchers found. For example, people who replaced saturated fats with unsaturated fats—especially polyunsaturated fats—had significantly lower risk of death overall during the study period, as well as lower risk of death from CVD, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and respiratory disease, compared with those who maintained high intakes of saturated fats. The findings for cardiovascular disease are consistent with many earlier studies showing reduced total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol when unsaturated fats replace trans or saturated fats.
People who replaced saturated fats with carbohydrates had only slightly lower mortality risk. In addition, replacing total fat with carbohydrates was associated with modestly higher mortality. This was not surprising, the authors said, because carbohydrates in the American diet tend to be primarily refined starch and sugar, which have a similar influence on mortality risk as saturated fats.
“Our study shows the importance of eliminating trans fat and replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats, including both omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In practice, this can be achieved by replacing animal fats with a variety of liquid vegetable oils,” said senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard Chan School and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Bottom Line : Don't eliminate fat from your diet,just the bad fats. Getting rid of all the fat can create its own set of serious problems. 

Sunday 11 September 2016

What’s Really in Your Fast Food?

The humble potato, fried in a vat of simmering oil, and finished with a sprinkling of salt. What could be simpler? Apparently, quite a lot. Fast-food fries often have more than 15 ingredients, including sugar and artificial coloring. They also have preservatives like sodium acid pyrophosphate and tert-butylhydroquinone, which in high doses has been linked to vision problems. 

Mince beef, right? Sure -- but there also may be growth hormones and antibiotics, which can end up in your system. And in one study, some burgers had over 100 calories more per serving than the fast-food places said they did. Remember, mince beef is not the same as ground beef. 

It’s the same soda you buy at the grocery store. But when you get it at a fast-food chain, you get more calories because the drink sizes are so large. And we’re not talking “supersize.” A medium soda at a typical fast-food place is about 30 ounces and has about 300 calories. And studies show that if you order it, you’ll drink it. 

Breakfast Sandwich
Some of the ingredients listed for what one national outlet calls a “fried egg” include modified corn starch, soybean oil, medium chain triglycerides, propylene glycol, artificial flavor, citric acid, xanthan gum, and -- oh yeah -- egg whites and yolks (listed separately). If you didn’t bargain for all of that, ask for the propylene glycol (also used in fog machines and to make polyester) on the side. 

Hot Dog
What’s in them? Let’s just say they make full use of the animals that supply the meat. They’re also loaded with salt and saturated fat (which most Americans get too much of) and with nitrates, a preservative linked to diabetes and cancer 

Chicken Nuggets
A piece of chicken breast battered and fried to golden perfection? Not exactly. There’s meat in there, but there are also bones, blood vessels, nerves, connective tissue, and skin. And they have loads of salt and fat, which are linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Strawberry Milkshake
Besides milk and sugar, one leading fast-food outlet also adds high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives like sodium benzoate, and artificial flavors and colors to this drinkable dessert. One thing that appears to be missing: actual  strawberries   

The first ingredient listed for almost any sauce served at a fast-food restaurant is sugar. It may be called sucrose, dextrose, maltose, rice syrup, barley malt, high-fructose corn syrup, or any number of other things, but the end result is the same: quick delivery of lots of calories with almost zero nutritional value.   

Bottom Line: Did you notice that all of these foods have one thing in common ? Not only do they have no nutritional value they can harm you.



Lifestyle changes+ Exersise+Proper Nutrition= Success !

       The evidence is indisputable. The most effective way to achieve short term and long term fat loss comes from a lifestyle that combines behaviour modification, balanced nutrition and exercise.            

     There are six stages to Behaviour Modification 

1.    Precontemplation: Denial or not acknowledging there is a problem  

     2.    Contemplation: acknowledging there is a problem but not ready to change

     3.    Preparation: getting ready to change

     4.    Action: changing the behaviour

     5.    Maintenance: maintaining the positive behaviour

     6.    Relapse: returning to the old destructive behaviour.

    At what stage are you at? Simply put, you need to change what you’re doing. Weight management isn’t something you simply try to do; it’s a lifestyle you develop. It takes time and patience to lose fat and become a healthier person.
     New eating habits must develop and mature into a way of life. Numerous studies have shown the highest success rates of people who lose fat and keep it off are people who participate in behaviour modification. The New England Journal of Medicine reported the single most important step in regards to fat loss is to get one on one guidance with a professional personal trainer.
   Optimum health and fat lose comes when we supply our body with sufficient nutrients to maintain blood sugar and energy levels. Immune system, hormones and numerous other things while losing weight.
         If fat loss was simply a matter of burning more calories than you take in, the problem of obesity would have been solved long ago. Your body is constantly self-adjusting. Your body temperature rises, it perspires to cool down. The body will adapt to anything you throw at it. So how does this self-regulating affect your weight loss? Answer: if you are continually underfed, your body will self-adjust by slowing its metabolism. Being underfed results in bone loss and muscle loss and you become trapped in what is called a catabolic syndrome.
        You must maintain a balance between an anabolic and a catabolic metabolism. Anabolic means building up or repairing of healthy tissue,(that’s a good thing) and catabolic refers to the breaking down healthy of tissue (that’s a bad thing). This is the most common reason diets fail and people become trapped in this never ending cycle of losing fat and regaining fat. Over and over again.  We know that protein repairs and rebuild the body, carbohydrates give you energy and fats provide hormonal foundation for cells. To drastically cut back on these foods is ludicrous.   

Bottom Line: Cutting back on calories and not exercising in an attempt to lose fat is a lose,lose situation. In the end you will always end up worse off than when you started. It’s no secret. Proper nutrition with exercise and some simple changes to your lifestyle will get you where you have always wanted to be and keep you there !                                                        



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