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

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Grabbing a “healthy” snack ….. ‘

‘Grabbing a “healthy” snack ….. ‘ 🥓🍞🥜

I think if you were going to choose a “healthy” late morning snack/brunch option you’d probably assume the mixed nut bag is probably a better option than a bacon roll. And you’d assume it was healthier and certainly better for you if you’re trying to lose weight/fat.

Nuts, seeds and blackcurrants are full of nutrients – “good” fats, protein, antioxidants like Vitamin E etc. So nutritionally they are a good option, but the bag also contains a whopping 607 cals, with 28g fat and only 10g protein. The combination of fats and protein will help keep you full and satisfied but thats’s a really hefty snack that probably isn’t worth those calories.

In comparison a bacon roll would probably be perceived as a “bad” choice. In reality it has far fewer calories than the “healthy” option with only 389 cals in total. It’s also lower in fat with only 17.4g and higher in protein, 18.1 g. It still provides carbs, protein and fat so will keep you satisfied until lunch. I’m not suggesting you have one every day, but it’s certainly not terrible!.

So if you’re trying to lose weight/fat, and you really enjoy a bacon bap then go for it! As long as it’s part of a balanced diet which contains fruit and veg etc it’s fine! Don’t be swayed by the idea that nuts/seeds are inherently a “better” option – they’re not always!

🤗

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

Fitness and Exercise

Gym closed? Here are some of my tips for home workout options

With yesterday’s announcement about gym closures I know lots of people are worrying about how to stay fit if you can’t (or don’t want) to leave your home.

Now obviously there is always the option of doing outdoor activities like walking, running and cycling – and in fact you should definitely be doing some of these regardless. The fresh air and daylight will do you the world of good!

It’s currently unclear where we stand with outdoor exercise classes – the guidance does suggest that non-essential social gatherings are also a no no , so it’s a bit of a grey area but you have to make your own choice about that.

So in the meantime home workouts are definitely an option. Switching to home workouts isn’t easy – especially if you’re a class-based exerciser like me. You only need a little bit of space (anywhere will do) but you do need a fair bit of motivation. But it’s worth it, as establishing a workout routine could, most importantly, reduce the anxiety that this whole situation is causing, as well as keep you fit and well.

You don’t need any equipment but if you did decide you wanted to get some then a set of resistance bands (https://amzn.to/2J5MKXy) and some handweights (https://amzn.to/2xVeN9P) or adjustable dumbbells (https://amzn.to/2Uovxhf) and a skipping rope (https://amzn.to/33z73Gt) are probably the best options . Right now though everyone and their dog is buying them so you may find it hard to get hold of them. In the meantime there is loads you can do with body weight (like my post I shared last week – https://everystepfitness.com/2020/03/18/if-you-cant-get-to-thegym-here-are-two-easy-equipment-free-home-workouts-for-you-and-your-family/) or get creative and use household items for handweights (bottles of bleach/cans/ a rucksack filled with books etc).

I thought it would be a good idea to share a few options for home workouts. So here are my favourites for all types of exerciser.

If you are looking for workouts you can watch and follow then there are TONNES of free workouts out there.

⁃ Do a YouTube search for whatever type of workout you fancy and it will bring up 1000’s of options – all free! HIIT, yoga, Pilates, dance, strength training etc – everything is there!

⁃ If that’s all a bit bewildering then two great resources are fitness blender (https://www.fitnessblender.com) and the bodycoach (The Body Coach TV – YouTube ) . Both of these offer hundreds of completely free workouts. Fitness blender has a range of cardio, strength and stretch based workouts. The Body Coach is mostly hiit based stuff but he’s also doing some kids based sessions too at the moment.

⁃ If you want something a bit more polished and app based then it’s worth checking out Peloton (https://www.onepeloton.co.uk). They are doing a 90 day free trial at the moment! The app (which doesn’t require you to buy their bike etc) has loads of easy-to-follow and high-quality videos, including yoga, strength, meditation, cardio and bootcamp classes. There are also audio-only classes for outdoor runs, if that’s still an option for you. 

⁃ If you’re already missing your Les Mills classes then definitely check out Les Mills On Demand (https://www.lesmills.com/uk/ondemand/). There are a variety of all your favourite classes – attack, bodystep, pump etc and you can do them all on the comfort of your home! You don’t need to buy specific les mills equipment – any generic weights will do for example. They have some free workouts and they’re also doing a 14 day free trial.

If you’re considering other options then you could think about some personal training. Most of us are still seeing our PT clients (taking extra care with cleaning and maintaining social distancing) and many of us offer online Pt options too.

If that’s all a bit much and you just want some simple workouts to do without the need for an app or a laptop screen in front of you then just drop me a line. I’m happy to put together some home workouts for people, just like I do for my Pt clients. Just ask – anytime and I’d be glad to help out (free).

Hopefully you can find something you will enjoy doing while we wait for those gyms to reopen and we get to see each other again!

Happy working out – wherever you do it!

Xxx

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