Candida – What it is, what are the symptoms and how do we tackle it

Candida – What it is, what are the symptoms and how do we tackle it
What is it? Candida is the most common yeast infection found in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina It is a fungus that aids in nutrient absorption and digestion when it is found in proper levels in the body. When candida overproduces and is left unchecked it can break down the walls of the intestinal […]

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Cheat Meals. 5 Top Hints and Tips for Success

Cheat Meals are probably one of the least understood, over hyped and abused phenomena of the modern dieting era. 

Ive heard all sorts of myths, rumours, “rules” and speculations around the premises of this hot topic!

First up – what IS a cheat meal?! (Or what should it be?)

It is NOT an opportunity to stuff your face with as much food as your possibly can all day long. More is NOT better. It is also not designed to replenish depleted glycogen (that’s a re-feed, something entirely different). If you’re comfortably dieting at 80% compliance and having a cheat meal once per week; I’m afraid you’re no where near to depleting glycogen.

Its as simple as this. Nobody is a robot. Granted, during periods of hard dieting for transformations or on competition prep; you can expect to be required to be 100% compliant. That’s the nature of the beast. But cheat meals are designed to be that little bit of sanity. That little reward for a solid weeks progress. That mental unwind. Its common sense, when you’re dieting hard – you’re going to have less of them and they’re going to be smaller. But if you’re relaxing a bit, then you can allow a few more and a bit more indulgence.

There are some physiological benefits too, and whilst I wont bore you with the science, a good cheat meal can do wonders to break a plateau in your body composition and mentally give you some respite… But it does come with a catch. Here’s my general list of guidelines to clients surrounding cheat meals. 

  1. When we’re dieting hard, cheat meals are by prior arrangement. If you’re coaching yourself; here’s a tip. Do I really NEED a cheat meal, or do I just WANT one? Think about it.
  2. “I fancy a cheat meal this weekend”. Okay great. Have something you actually fancy; treat yourself. Do NOT see it as a challenge to get asked to leave an all you can eat buffet just because you’re “allowed”. That’s binge eating and will easily put you back a week.
  3. For some, little and often works best. I’m talking a couple of small things, extra few spoons of peanut butter etc once or twice a week. It helps keep you sane and reminds you can technically have whatever you want, whenever you want it and don’t NEED to binge. Trying to go cold turkey for these people is a disaster waiting to happen.
  4. For others, the little and often mentality leads to constantly spilling over. They’re the kind of person who cant touch something without blacking out and inhaling a jar of Nutella. A tip for these people; If you cant have 3 bites and walk away, don’t even start!!
  5. PLAN for your cheat meal.
    1. Strategy – “I know I’m having a cheat meal for my relatives birthday next weekend. That means this week I really don’t need anything”
    2. Focus – Focus on how GOOD that cheat meal will be when it arrives, and remember it WILL arrive; along with an extra couple of weeks of great results
    3. Commit – Get your head down and work until the day arrives. Then when that day arrives, relax and enjoy a meal in moderation. The danger is in the dosage after all!

When you decide to cheat, ensure you enjoy it! 

 

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Cheat Meals. 5 Top Hints and Tips for Success

Cheat Meals are probably one of the least understood, over hyped and abused phenomena of the modern dieting era. 

Ive heard all sorts of myths, rumours, “rules” and speculations around the premises of this hot topic!

First up – what IS a cheat meal?! (Or what should it be?)

It is NOT an opportunity to stuff your face with as much food as your possibly can all day long. More is NOT better. It is also not designed to replenish depleted glycogen (that’s a re-feed, something entirely different). If you’re comfortably dieting at 80% compliance and having a cheat meal once per week; I’m afraid you’re no where near to depleting glycogen.

Its as simple as this. Nobody is a robot. Granted, during periods of hard dieting for transformations or on competition prep; you can expect to be required to be 100% compliant. That’s the nature of the beast. But cheat meals are designed to be that little bit of sanity. That little reward for a solid weeks progress. That mental unwind. Its common sense, when you’re dieting hard – you’re going to have less of them and they’re going to be smaller. But if you’re relaxing a bit, then you can allow a few more and a bit more indulgence.

There are some physiological benefits too, and whilst I wont bore you with the science, a good cheat meal can do wonders to break a plateau in your body composition and mentally give you some respite… But it does come with a catch. Here’s my general list of guidelines to clients surrounding cheat meals. 

  1. When we’re dieting hard, cheat meals are by prior arrangement. If you’re coaching yourself; here’s a tip. Do I really NEED a cheat meal, or do I just WANT one? Think about it.
  2. “I fancy a cheat meal this weekend”. Okay great. Have something you actually fancy; treat yourself. Do NOT see it as a challenge to get asked to leave an all you can eat buffet just because you’re “allowed”. That’s binge eating and will easily put you back a week.
  3. For some, little and often works best. I’m talking a couple of small things, extra few spoons of peanut butter etc once or twice a week. It helps keep you sane and reminds you can technically have whatever you want, whenever you want it and don’t NEED to binge. Trying to go cold turkey for these people is a disaster waiting to happen.
  4. For others, the little and often mentality leads to constantly spilling over. They’re the kind of person who cant touch something without blacking out and inhaling a jar of Nutella. A tip for these people; If you cant have 3 bites and walk away, don’t even start!!
  5. PLAN for your cheat meal.
    1. Strategy – “I know I’m having a cheat meal for my relatives birthday next weekend. That means this week I really don’t need anything”
    2. Focus – Focus on how GOOD that cheat meal will be when it arrives, and remember it WILL arrive; along with an extra couple of weeks of great results
    3. Commit – Get your head down and work until the day arrives. Then when that day arrives, relax and enjoy a meal in moderation. The danger is in the dosage after all!

When you decide to cheat, ensure you enjoy it! 

 

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Strategise. Focus. Commit.

Strategise. Focus. Commit.

Do you need to get your life together? Bare with me here.

Now when I say “get your life together” – I’m not just referring to the every day necessities. I’m sure you’re capable of eating, breathing, getting dressed and getting to work every day. I’m talking more than that. How do you get from getting things done and existing – to “living your dream” and achieving things you really want to do deep down. Things you’re afraid to tell other people about. Sometimes things you’re afraid to even mutter to yourself.

Do you think that 2 years ago I was confident in telling people I would be doing a photoshoot and prospectively putting myself on stage to compete against others? The thought alone terrified me. But I wanted it. So…I got my life together. Bit by bit. Day by day.

Getting your life together is like having your phone,keys and wallet. With any of these things, you can achieve much much bigger things. You can call anyone in the world. You can pay for the wildest and most wonderful things. If you were to lose one of these things, you’d really address that you need to get your life together.

Compare achieving your dream body with these three every day items.

So you’re unhappy with your body? Who’s going to change that. You. You have to get your life together; and here’s three simple steps. Strategy. Focus. Commit. 

Strategise. Focus. Commit.

 

Strategy.

You probably already know what you want to achieve. You may fantasise and day dream about it in silence, or you may have said it over and over again “Oh I wish I were leaner/bigger/thinner/healthier”. Knowing what you want is a HUGE part of the battle, but now you have break it down in to smaller chunks and let yourself in on it. This strategy is your house keys. If you want to lose 4 dress sizes, we know its not going to happen in a week. But what if we strategised that were going to lose 2% body fat every 2 weeks instead? How much easier does that seem? Thats 0.14% a day. Thats just doing ONE Little thing better, every day.

Focus.

Although you can do an obscene amount things with your phone, you can only actually DO one thing properly on it at a time. The same goes for life and you. You can do many many things at once, poorly. Or you can focus and OWN something. You can only achieve one thing at a time. Focus on what you want and schedule it in. Do not be sidetracked by Facebook Messenger and Candy Crush, in reality OR metaphorically. You logged on your laptop to buy health supplements, NOT end up on Facebook. You need to divert finances for a coach to help you in the areas that you need work on, so don’t fall victim to your friends going for a curry and 6 pints at the weekend.

Commit. 

Typically, this is the point where most people fall down. Say “I will”. Start taking steps. Put one foot in front of the other. This might mean using your wallet, literally or metaphorically. Either you’re going to have to give some time to your goal, or you may have to commit financially. If you’re intelligent enough to understand you need someone who understands more on the subject; you hire a coach. Then you may need to get supplements for instance. The important thing here is stay FOCUSED. Do not get distracted by metaphorical Facebook Messenger (your friends asking you to go for a curry and drinks at the weekend, for example). Commitment is doing something whole heartedly.

Follow these 3 simple steps to break things down, focus on what you want then COMMIT.

Sick of not achieving what you wanted? Then it’s time to grab your keys, phone and wallet. And when you’re ready; I’ll be here ready to help.

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WHY RAPID WEIGHT/FAT LOSS IS NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING!!!

WHY RAPID WEIGHT/FAT LOSS IS NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING!!!
Thats right you’ve read it correctly and I firmly stand by this statement and I have done for a while. It is now an expectation that people should lose massive amounts of weight/fat in a short space of time.   This preconception is what is causing people to fall of the wagon when they are […]

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How To Eat Well On A Budget

How To Eat Well On A Budget

There’s a general misconception that you have to spend a fortune to eat healthily – household food budgets are a commonly cited reason for not eating well – yet the reality is that there’s nothing more cost effective than cooking from scratch with simple nutritious ingredients.  It may take a bit more time and planning but it certainly doesn’t cost more to eat a healthy balanced diet.

One of the most disputed topics I have with members, clients, members of the general public etc.. is the cost of eating well in comparison to eating, well, not so well… More often than not, I tell them that this is a complete misconception; but I feel I need to give my reasoning. In my experience, I’d say its one of the TOP reasons for clients/people mot eating well yet the reality is that there’s nothing more cost effective than cooking from scratch with simple nutritious ingredients.

If you’ve started this year with a renewed sense of motivation to improve your diet, but you’re worried that your food shopping bills are going to stop you in your tracks; this is the perfect article to help you get started!

SO here’s my list of  TOP TIPS for eating well for less!

1. Make a list and stick to it! This is pretty self explanatory. Actually look what you really NEED, (calculate how much meat etc you need), and then go and buy only that. The golden rule is never, ever deviate from the list!

2. Shop at lower priced supermarkets! Seriously, if you’re not using Aldi or Lidl, you’re missing a HUGE trick – Aldi have a weekly promotion called the super 6 where they offer a range of different types of fruits and vegetables for 49p. The range differs every week but often includes basics like potatoes etc.

 

How To Eat Well On A Budget

 

3. Cook from scratch – It takes a bit more time to begin with, but it gets easier with experience and practice. And in my opinion? It’s the only way to really eat well, with knowing EXACTLY what’s in there and still save money. Many food companies have jumped on the bandwagon when it comes to ‘healthy’ ready meals and these are often sold at outrageous ridiculous prices, often still including hidden nasties that are cleverly disguised in the ingredients section. To eat well on a budget you need to cook meals from scratch using fresh ingredients

4. Use your imagination – Everyone says “We’ve got nothing in for Tea”, or some variation of that. It’s not very often that there really is ‘nothing in’ for tea. Nipping out to the Coop, which is heinously over priced, last minute, without a list, on an empty stomach, is the single quickest way to burn though £20. Before you nip to the shops for a last minute meal, have a look through your fridge, freezer and store cupboards and you’ll usually find the basis of a meal. The beauty of having the internet nowadays is that there are literally millions of recipes at your fingertips, so get creative and make use of what you already have in.

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Could Serotonin be your missing link to health and happiness?

Could Serotonin be your missing link to health and happiness?

How can one Neurotransmitter; Serotonin, help improve your results, health and happiness?

Could Serotonin be your missing link to health and happiness?

 

Serotonin, or the ‘happy neurotransmitter’, is a chemical substance found in the human body that helps to regulate mood – but it’s also responsible for so much more than Scientists  first thought.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals which help pass signals along nerves and from one to another in the brain, but 80-90% of Serotonin is actually created in the intestines, with the remainder being created in the brain (Another reason to look after your gut).

Serotonin influences the majority of brain cells in one way or another and it’s been shown to affect a wide variety of mental and physical functions.  It cannot cross the blood-brain barrier however, so only Serotonin that is made in the brain can be used there; which can become a problem – as it IS possible to have low Serotonin levels, and/or supressed production.

Could Serotonin be your missing link to health and happiness?

Serotonin depletion results in negative mood states. Common negative mood states include anxiety, excessive worry, panic and fear. Different people express negative moods in different ways however. Some people experiencing Serotonin depletion may feel pessimistic, irritated or impatient or can lead to negative behaviours such as aggression.

What can we do about it? 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a natural precursor to serotonin that I often recommend as a supplement, as this form can cross the blood brain barrier and replenish depleted levels.

If you believe you could be symptomatic of low Serotonin levels; as well as supplementation, there’s also list of foods high in Tryptophan (a natural precursor to Serotonin). that could help. Try to include these frequently in your nutrition:

  • Eggs
  • Pineapple
  • Tofu
  • Turkey
  • Nuts and Seeds

But why?

Not only does it play a huge role in feeling good, Serotonin also plays a big role in both appetite control and weight management, therefore may also play a part in weight management. It’s  one of the most important neurotransmitters involved in promoting feelings of satiety, or ‘fullness’ after a meal, and so low levels may contribute to problems associated with overeating.

It’s also a huge factor in our relaxation and our sleep cycle. How this works is not yet fully understood but the most logical explanation seems to be that serotonin, which itself has natural soothing properties, is converted into melatonin, the body’s primary sleep hormone.

For females specifically; Serotonin is also pivotal to their hormonal balance. Many women notice changes in themselves at different points throughout their hormonal cycle which are often associated with changes in brain chemicals, of which serotonin is thought to play an important part.

For more information on how nutrition can help you feel and look better, head to the contact page and get in touch!

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Should my child be weight training?

Should my child be weight training?
Weight training for youngsters is a popular topic within our industry and the myths going around this topic are endless. If I was a parent the question i would want to know is: ‘can my child weight train?’ For those parents out there that have a little superstar in the making for whatever sport they […]

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TIPS TO OVERCOME SUGAR CRAVINGS

TIPS TO OVERCOME SUGAR CRAVINGS
For those that have started your new diets over the last week or so no doubt over this early period you have experienced some sugar cravings throughout these last 10 days as you have dramatically cut down your sugar intake after the festive period. Cravings are not just a battle of will power it is […]

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Your New Year To-Do List

New Year, New You. All that jazz. It’s around the 2nd January next year, that many people; some of whom may be reading this right now, will make the decision to go to the gym, go for a run, or do exercise every day. Let me give you a tip. Don’t. 

More of you, shamed by the feeling, greed, gluttony and overindulgence throughout the festive period; are going to try and make the decision to completely cut out certain food stuffs in the New Year. “No more bread/chocolate/insert randomly selected food stuff here”. Let me offer you some further advice. Don’t do that either.

Unfortunately, some of you are even going to fall victim to the shameless and ill educated pyramid salesmen of the industry and start a regime of shakes and smoothies in the pursuit of a “detox” or “cleanse” – putting nothing but your health, wallet and dignity up for grabs. I bet you can guess what my advice for that is too…

 

Don’t even think about it..

So why am I, a physique coach and Personal Trainer, telling you NOT to exercise every day, cut out foods completely and take loads of supplements? 

Because you will not, and cannot sustain it. 

Some of you may even take that as a challenge and try to prove me wrong; but the fact of the matter is that by the end of January, not being able to sustain what you set out for is going to become a reality for over 80% of these people.

Its a well observed, studied and documented phenomena that happens every year, and has been noted on for the last 20 years or so by leading names in the Industry such as Phil Learney – who have then also watched people flock back to their previous behaviours, habits, diets and lifestyles within weeks.

Only to repeat the exact same pattern again in the next New Year.

So what causes it? (Believe it or not, the aim of this article isn’t to make you feel hopeless, defeated and helpless. It’s actually people like me who DO care about you. I want YOU to gain control over your choices and to educate you to make better ones. I don’t want you to see you lose out on health and money at the hands of cheap fix fads)

Firstly – it’s not a lack of motivation or willpower. So to that end, motivation and willpower alone aren’t going to improve the situation. Willpower and motivation ALWAYS have an expiry date.

The real answer is habit. Humans are creatures of habit after all. Trying to change one small, achievable thing with an intelligent, diligent plan and a set timescale that you can focus on is a recipe for success that will keep you coming back for more and WANTING to do more.

Trying to go from doing zero exercise, to 7 hours a week; going from a completely laissez faire diet to Bodybuilding contest prep-esque rigidity, all in one fell swoop? It’s not going to happen.

So rather than focus on the DON’T’s; here’s some DO’s to ensure a greater chance of success in the New Year.

  • Start training, exercising, just moving MORE! 
  • Ideally? Start training 3 times per week and getting a good intense 20-30 mins in. If you want to go more. DON’T. You want that feeling of wanting to go to remain. Starting small is a sure fire way to ensure success
  • Monitor your food. Keep a food diary if necessary; in fact I’d recommend it. Make some simple and smart changes so every day you’re consistently consuming the same amount of calories. Alongside your new exercise programme, you can expect some sustainable weight loss.
  • Drink PLENTY of water. About 1 litre per 25kg Body weight.
  • Dust yourself off and get back on track when you make an error. Don’t write anything off. That’s YOU you’re writing off. You will make errors. That’s life, and thats ESPECIALLY true in this instance. We’re all human, we’ve all done it.

– Remember; people like me care about you doing well. We want YOU to gain control over your choices and to educate you to make better ones. Surround yourself with similar people – NOT the ones who pull you down and make life harder.

I’ve worked in this Industry for long enough, and with enough people to know that you want results like NOW. But trust the system. What have you got to lose?

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