Top 5 Tips for Men’s Health Week

It is Men’s Health Week 2019 and we have our top tips for ensuring you guys stay healthy and happy!

1.It’s boring but you HAVE to eat a wide variety of foods! There is no magic pill I’m afraid. Make sure you get lots of fruit and veggies, wholegrains, some protein, unsaturated fat (oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado) and water of course. Don’t drink too much alcohol, avoid a lot of added sugar and don’t smoke. 

2.Mind your mood. Suicide is one of the biggest killers of males under 45 years of age which is a SHOCKING statistic. Try to find something which helps you stay calm, destress and unwind. Talk to friends, family or someone who is not related to you in any way if you feel like you are feeling down, stressed or otherwise. 

3.Do some exercise. It doesn’t have to be running a marathon or joining a hiking group. Find a way to include movement in your day that you ENJOY and can continue. This may be gardening, walking, yoga or something completely different. Find what works for you and make time for it! It will benefit your physical and mental health hugely. 

4.Get regular health checks. It is so important to regularly book appointments with your GP even if you feel okay. Get a full check-up done to rule out any potential issues. It will put your mind at ease.

5.Do something you REALLY enjoy every day. Even if it’s for five minutes, try to include something in your day that fills you with joy. If it’s a book by the fire or listening to music or walking the dog DO IT! 

Long Distance Fitness Male Running Runner Jogging

Should you eat before a workout?

Achieving your fitness goals can be hard and sometimes even knowing if you should eat or WHAT to eat before a workout can be difficult! No one wants a stitch half way through a run but we don’t want to be starving either. Let’s chat a little bit about what to snack on before a workout.

Not eating something before a workout isn’t something I recommend however it may just suit some people particularly if they are early risers and get that gym session in at 6am!  For others it can leave them feeling dizzy, nauseated and tired. It can also affect our performance as our muscles need that energy to work to their best ability.

Carbohydrates provide energy in our bodies and our muscles store carbohydrate in the form of glycogen for times when we need it. Eating carbohydrates before training can allow us to use this energy in the form of glucose to fuel our workout. It also saves the glycogen stored in our muscles for other times we may need it. It’s a good idea to eat a bit of protein before training too as it allows repair and building of muscle cells which are damaged when we workout.

Make sure to drink water!! Water is essential for any type of training. Sip on it before and during your workout for optimal performance.

Examples of carb and protein snacks to have before a workout:

  • some fruit and unsalted mixed nuts or seeds
  • a slice of wholegrain toast and peanut butter
  • low-sugar oatmeal bar/granola bar
  • dried fruit and Greek yoghurt
  • chicken/turkey/pitta on wholegrain crackers
  • scrambled/boiled eggs on wholegrain toast
  • milk
  • apple/pear and nut butter

Ideally we should be eating a pre-workout snack about an hour before a workout but this may not work for some people and that is FINE! Find what works for YOU and GET MOVING!

Don’t forget our Good4U snacks are great sources of pre-workout carbohydrates and have that extra protein boost to keep us going! Grab a snack NOW! 

When the best plan is not the best plan!

Every January you rush into a new fitness regime, give it everything for two weeks and then things start to slip. You miss a workout. You eat a full packet of biscuits instead of the one biscuit you had intended. Soon you realise it’s been two weeks since you did a workout and the weekly treats have become daily treats. You’re back to square one and self loathing kicks in. Sound familiar?

I’m not a psychic but I think I may be able to predict what happens next. At some point in the future you’ll decide, once again, that it’s time to get your act together. So you’ll rush to the gym and train at your maximum. Alternatively you’ll seek out the most intense, challenging plan you can find. The one that is “hardest” because you need results. And you need them immediately. And therein lies the problem.

Consistency trumps intensity every time. An average plan done consistently is better than the best plan not done at all. What does that mean for you? It means if you haven’t trained in a while it doesn’t make sense to go after the most intense workout. The best plan is actually the one that you’ll stick to in the long run. For somebody who is relatively inactive that probably means starting small and building it up gradually. That “hardest”, most intense plan you were seeking might be the perfect plan for an elite athlete whose body is conditioned to training five days per week. However, if you’re at a less advanced stage it’s probably not the perfect plan for you.

The very same principal applies to your eating habits. The number of people who decide to get in shape and quit within the first two weeks is staggering. For the most part it’s because they make the exact same mistake with their nutrition as the training mistake outlined above. They try to be “perfect”. Determination and will power take over. This time it’s going to work, no matter what. So we cut out all treats, we reduce our calories more than we should, and we decide we’re going to live off Broccoli and Chicken forever. The problem is that, for most people, willpower is not enough. A solid plan is a better option. The more you deprive yourself of something, the more you’ll want it. At some stage a binge is likely to happen when you’re willpower caves.

So what’s the solution? If you’ve been following the Good4U challenge you’ve probably made a nice steady start. You’ve been implementing small changes, which were relatively easy to work into your daily life. This is a great way to go about the process and it’s a strategy I would typically use with those who are new to a fitness journey or who have fallen off track. I call this one the Compound Effect. In essence the idea is that small changes, while seeming like not very much at the time, stack up on top of each other to lead to great change over time. Typically when people rush into a fitness goal with an all or nothing approach, they overwhelm themselves. The goal can seem a million miles away and they start to feel like a failure when they’re not reaching it. The Compound Effect works the opposite way. When I set a small challenge the client will feel that it’s very manageable. When they complete the challenge they’ll usually come back and ask “what’s next?”. As each little task is accomplished confidence begins to build and the client wants to do more.

With those at a slightly higher level I use what I call the 80/20 rule. This is the concept that we will eat nutritious, healthy food 80% of the time. I actively encourage my clients to aim for 80%, not 100%. This means there’s room for the occasional bar of chocolate. If you are on track 80% of the time you’ll get away with the 20% for the most part. Progress may be slower initially but you’ll still be feeling positive and moving toward your goals in six months time.

Long term change has to be the primary thought for those looking to create a healthy lifestyle. In that regard, consistency is king. So that intense, perfect plan may not be the right plan for you. The right plan is the one which you can stick to. Progress, not perfection. Whatever you do this week is more than you were doing last week. That’s the approach that will lead to lasting change. We’ve all got it within us to create change and to be the best version of ourselves. In order to do that it’s worth consider the approach before diving in. All the best going forward and if I can be of any assistance don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Alan.

Running for Health

Running-you may love it, you may hate it. Like me, you may find it difficult to motivate yourself to get up and just go for a run but afterwards you feel amazing! It doesn’t matter if you are a first time runner or running your 56th marathon, I applaud you. Running is such a great way to improve Continue reading “Running for Health”

Good4U Myth Busters: Protein

Protein

Protein: why do we care so much!?

Every day it seems that another product is promoting it’s protein content, but why? What is it and why are we obsessed with it!
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