Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Losing fitness in lockdown?

Tuesday Tip: Losing fitness in lockdown? 🏃🏼‍♀️

I know a worry for many of you (me included) is losing your fitness during lockdown. Suddenly you’re not walking to the office/school run, you’re not able to get to the gym or classes etc. Well don’t panic – it’s not as bad as you may expect.

Studies show that muscle loss doesn’t occur until about 4 weeks BUT that’s only if you stop training completely! And even then it’s minor and happens in tiny increments each week. If you continue to workout even just with bodyweight workouts then you’ll preserve muscle mass, and post lock-down you’ll be back to normal within a few weeks. If you have no equipment then focus on full body circuits, increase intensity by adjusting the tempo, and increase the volume (number of reps) e.g. a 10 bodyweight move circuit repeated 5 times etc a few times a week.

Studies show that over 12 weeks there’s only a 16% reduction in aerobic fitness overall. If you can run or cycle then this will help, but even long fast paced walks will help. If you’re into cardio classes then you’re sorted as HIIT workouts lend themselves to small spaces. You can do your own little HIIT workout, but if you struggle to motivate yourself to work hard then there’s loads of free workouts online now – see my previous posts or ask me for links). Another fab way to replicate cardio workouts is with skipping – 2 mins a few times a day as a cardio blast!

Specific fitness losses will go a degree relate to your own training/exercise history, types of exercise you do (fitness is maintained for longer if you did a variety of types of exercise e.g. not just running, and genetic and lifestyle factors. However, if you’re a regular exerciser it will take longer to lose fitness as things like increased capillary density take much longer to disappear.

So basically – don’t fret! You’re going to be fine! I hope these tips help. If you want any specific advice then please ask, anytime.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Working from Home

Tuesday Tip: Working from Home 🏠

Working from home, be it your normal work, schooling the kids, or just now being at home as work has closed, can be hard. Productivity goes down and it’s hard to stay motivated. So here are some tips on how to make the best of it.

# 1 Routine

Try to stick to your “normal” routine as much as possible. Get up/go to bed at the same time as normal, plan your day, schedule in something every day that signals it’s the start/end of the day. These rituals will will help to keep you positive e.g. a morning workout, an evening walk or family movie time etc.

# 2 Workout

It’s vital for your mind and body to stay as active as possible. It releases endorphins, decreases stress hormones and helps create routine. Schedule it in; perhaps at the same time you would normally go to the gym /class etc. Publicly commit to it with your family or friends so you’re likely to stick to it.

# 3 Find a place

Choose a space at home that’s comfy, but not too comfy, to work in. Avoid the bed/sofa if possible. Set up the space up so it’s easy to work from; laptop/paperwork, easy access to power points/cables etc. Also set up a space to workout in. If you don’t have space for a dedicated workout area then just keep anything you need handy so it’s easy to use without spending ages getting set up.

# 4 NO distractions

Avoid distractions you can control. Put your phone away, turn the TV off, set aside a time for household chores so you’re not tempted to do them instead of the work.

# 5 Make a list

Make a list of all the things you MUST do that day, and another list of things you WANT to do if you can. Then you can prioritise and hopefully get some of the “want” list done too if you have time.

# 6 Schedule breaks

It’s easy for work to creep into all hours of the day if you’re not careful, so try to work similar hours to normal. Signal the end of the day by doing something that isn’t work; e.g. workout, a walk, a bath etc. Close the laptop and don’t leave it open all evening etc so you can separate work from home time.

I hope these tips help. If I can help at all with anything then please ask, anytime.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Boost your Immune System

Tuesday Tip: Boost your Immune System 🦠

No amount of lifestyle intervention can completely protect you but here are some practical tips to strengthen your immune system.

# 1 Follow the advice

First off; follow the official advice; advice from the govt, NHS and scientists – not the news, social media, or your mate down the pub. Follow the science-backed advice. If in doubt about self isolation call 111.

# 2 Eat well

Eat a balanced diet and ensure you’re loading up on lots of fruit and veg to ensure you get the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients you need to fight infection. It also ensures plenty of fibre to keep your gut microbiome healthy too.

# 3 Vit C and Zinc

Vitamin C won’t prevent infection but has been shown to reduce symptom intensity and duration. Load up on citrus fruits, leafy green veg or get a high dose Vit C supplement. Zinc also helps boost the immune system and is found in meat, poultry, seafood, beans, nuts, whole grains and dairy products.

# 4 Sleep

Adequate sleep is the foundation of your whole immune system. While you sleep the hormone melatonin stimulates the creation of new immune cells so sleep is critical. Try to get 6-8 hrs a night.

# 5 Exercise

You need to get those muscles working to produce chemicals that stimulate the thymus gland (involved in production and functioning of immune cells). Cardiovascular fitness is also essential for strong, healthy lungs. The lymphatic system relies on muscle movement to circulate immune cells around the body too. Exercise also produces endorphins which will make you feel better and reduce stress.

# 6 Drink

Hydration is vital as it keeps the mucus membranes in your respiratory tract moist which means they can trap the germs and prevent them entering your cells. so drink up!

# 7 Reduce stress

Stress increases cortisol production, which weakens our immune system. A lot of the covid-19 coverage is creating mass-hysteria so if you’re feeling anxious steer clear of the news/social media – take a walk, read a book, call a friend, play with your kids, whatever you do to relax.

Finally, it wouldn’t be fair to leave this one off – wash your hands.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip : Beat The Afternoon Slump

Tuesday Tip : Beat The Afternoon Slump 😴

The mid afternoon energy slump – usually 3-4pm is common to all of us! It can have you reaching for the sugar or caffeine to stay alert but instead try these tips to help beat that slump!

#1 Start right

Not starting the day right can have big impacts later. If you don’t have breakfast you’re far more likely to feel sleepy later in the day. Try a brekkie that combines protein and carbs – eggs on toast, porridge with nuts/fruit. If you’re in a rush take it with you – peanut butter bagel, yogurt pot etc.

# 2 Watch the carbs and fat

Now I’m definitely not saying to cut carbs totally for lunch – you need them for energy. Too few and you’ll find you’re running low by 3pm. But on the flip side too many carbs and you’ll feel sluggish all afternoon. Go for a fist sized portion of carbs with lunch. Also reduce the fat – high fat meals are harder to digest so leave you feeling sluggish. So have a sandwich by all means, or a pasta salad, but load up on the veggies and go easy on the bread/pasta and cheese etc.

# 3 Have a break

Studies have found that taking regular 5-15 min breaks leads to increased productivity at work, and can help combat the afternoon slump. Try to get up and walk around at least once every hour throughout the day. Then, during your break, do a few stretches and take a few deep breaths to invigorate and refresh your mind and your body.

# 4 Drink more

The afternoon slump can also be a result of dehydration. So grab a cold glass of water when you start to feel sleepy. You could add a little lime/cucumber/lemon to your water to add to the flavour. Or try soaking some bits of pineapple in your water for a delicious pineapple-infused burst of energy!

#5 Use your head

It sounds counter intuitive as it’s the last thing you feel like doing but using your brain helps to combat that slump. Try a fun, quick task like crosswords/puzzles etc to give those brain cells a blast. Engaging your brain this way will rouse your concentration levels and refocus you.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Munchies

Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Munchies 🥤🥪

Feeling very hungry after your workout? Regular workouts boost your metabolism and often increase your hunger. Those dreaded post-workout munchies can make you reach for extra snacks and eat more than you want to which could derail your fitness goals.

# 1 Reconsider your burn

Did you really burn as much as you’re about to eat? Studies have shown that we usually underestimate the calories consumed through food and overestimate the number of calories burned by exercise. As I’ve said in previous posts those fitness machines almost always over estimate and even fitness trackers aren’t as accurate as we’re led to believe. So be realistic when it comes to choosing post-workout foods. Go for something with protein, carbs and fat – and if it’s not a main meal then aim for only about 150-200 cals. A glass of milk (dairy or soya) or chocolate milk is an excellent post workout refuel.

# 2 Are you really hungry?

Ask yourself are you really hungry? Unless it’s a definite yes don’t reach for that protein shake or snack (and remember as I said last week – protein shakes aren’t really necessary for most of us anyway!)

Drink a big glass of water first and then decide. Try not to just get in to the habit of eating after workouts for the sake of it.

#3 Eat regular meals

If you’re starving after your workouts then maybe you haven’t eaten enough earlier in the day. Studies have shown regular meals with a good balance of proteins, carbs and fats results in less desire to eat extra snacks post workout and curb that hunger.

# 4 Schedule your workouts

If you always feel hungry after working out, then simply make sure to schedule exercise before one of your main meals.

That way you won’t need to eat any extra snacks, and thus additional calories, between meals.

# 5 Don’t try to earn calories to eat later

Try not to workout simply for the reward of eating later. Again something I’ve talked about before – try not to reward yourself with food. Exercise itself should be the reward so find something you enjoy – cycling, running, classes, dancing etc and then enjoy the endorphins!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Carbs are ok

Tuesday Tip: Carbs are ok 🥖🍞🥔

Carbs are the devil right? We all know someone that cut carbs and lost a stone in 4 weeks or whatever… so obviously carbs are bad?

There is so much conflicting, scientific sounding rhetoric out there blasting carbs – saying you shouldn’t eat them, or if you do eat them you should only eat them at certain times, or that cutting them will result in massive weight loss (well yeah if you cut any major food group out of your diet you’ll lose weight – you’re eating less!).

This is not actually true. The common argument is that carbs cause insulin to be released and to spike and therefore it’s bad because that insulin will somehow cause fat to be stored ….well sorry but all meals do this and in fact some proteins cause a greater response than carbs! In addition those insulin level changes have no direct impact on weight gain or weight loss. You have to be eating more than you’re using to store fat.

Carbs are the body’s preferred fuel source – breaking them down to glucose, but if there are no carbs around the body simply breaks protein to glucose instead. This applies at any time – not just when you’re exercising- because we need glucose to function – both physically and mentally.

Does that mean that there is no point in eating more carbs at certain times and fewer at others? No – you can definitely choose to have more carbs when your body may need extra fuel e.g. when working out, or in the morning when you’ve not eaten all night. But it’s not black and white and you certainly don’t need to ONLY eat carbs at these times and you definitely shouldn’t be avoiding carbs altogether.

How many carbs you eat doesn’t determine your weight loss – it’s total number of calories eaten and calories expended that matter. Carbs are just one part of the equation that you can play around with to help you meet those goals. There’s no need to obsess over carbs – yes small tweaks may help and you MAY find it easier to only eat carbs in the morning, or whenever, but if you like carbs eat them – just manage your portion size.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Losing Fitness?

Tuesday Tip: Losing Fitness? 🏃🏼‍♀️

An enforced rest from exercise, due to injury, illness or holidays can cause an irrational fear that you’ll lose all your hard earned fitness overnight and will be back to square one. But does it really decrease that quickly?

Loss of fitness when you stop exercising is called reversibility. If you stop training the long term physiological benefits such as cardiac hypertrophy (increased size and strength of the heart muscle), increased blood volume and increased aerobic enzymes will start to decline. It’s true that your muscles will start to atrophy (decrease in size and strength) after a short time of inactivity and your neuromuscular co-ordination will often rapidly decline, which is why you feel a bit all over the place when you come back to it.

A recent study of 12 weeks of rest showed an initial decline in fitness (50% reduction in and 7% reduction in VO2 max), but it then stabilises with only 16% loss of overall. Specific fitness losses relate to your own training/exercise history, types of exercise you do (fitness is maintained for longer if you did a variety of types of exercise e.g. not just running), the rest period, and genetic and lifestyle factors. If you’re a regular exerciser it will take longer to lose fitness as things like increased capillary density take much longer to disappear.

If you can’t do your normal exercise then try other types; your cardiovascular system doesn’t know the difference between running and cross training as long as you elevate the heart rate you can maintain or increase aerobic fitness etc.

Prolonged rest is also not always a bad thing. Although it may seem counterintuitive gains in fitness happen when you rest, as your body needs to recover to allow the physiological adaptations to a training stimulus to take place. Also remember that fitness returns extremely quickly – within 2-3 weeks after a prolonged rest.

So if you are out of action for a little while then don’t stress. Stay as active as you can e.g. walking etc and when you’re back from injury/holiday etc get back to your normal routine and you’ll be back where you were (possibly better) in not time.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx