Fitness Testing – April Challenge

Monday 3rd April I will launch my ‘Get Fit For Summer HITT Challenge’ which is free to all Fit + Fabulous Facebook friends @fitfabul0us. In order to track progress and see results I suggest that this week you carry out one or 2 of the following fitness tests. There are several that you can can do for resistance or cardiovascular fitness and require little or no equipment; take your pick:

  • Squat test – as many as you can with no rest until unable to continue.
  • Sit up test – as many sit ups as you can in 30 seconds with no rest.
  • Press up test – as many as you can with no rest until unable to continue.
  • Rockport test – walk 1 mile as fast as you can without stopping.
  • Cooper test – run for 12 minutes continuously without stopping at the same pace.

By carrying out these tests at the start and then repeating the same ones at the end of the month, will enable you to monitor your fitness results clearly. You can also take body measurements at the start and then at the end of the month if your goal is for weight loss.

If you have any queries please contact me!

The right amount of protein.

A regular conversation I have with clients is when is the right time to add protein shakes? Firstly, lets talk about the average daily protein need. For a healthy, sedentary adult their daily protein requirement is 0.8g per kilogram of body weight per day; this is approximately 10-15% of total calories consumed per day. There are a few training cases when protein requirements may change and possibly require supplements. However in many cases, additional protein can be sought through a balanced diet.

  1. ENDURANCE TRAINING – Long distance, endurance athletes running 60 minutes or more of moderately hard training may require additional protein to compensate the breakdown of muscle tissue due to depleted glycogen stores, a process known as gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is the body’s way of maintaining blood glucose levels when muscle and liver glycogen have become depleted during exercise or at times when there is a low energy intake. Another reason for an increase in protein is to help repair and recovery of the muscles. After a long run I always have a pint of skimmed milk as its a fast and effective way of getting adequate protein into my body quickly. Daily protein requirements 1.2-1.4g per kg of body weight.
  2. STRENGTH TRAINING – When strength training you are creating micro tears in the muscle which requires increased amounts of protein to help repair and enhance recovery. Strength training requires more protein than endurance training due to the higher rate of muscle synthesis and increased demands placed on the muscles. In order to achieve effective muscle hypertrophy (muscle bulk) an increase in protein must be met with an appropriate workload. Some of the highest protein foods are chicken 39g/130g, salmon 30g/150g and beef 28g/100g. Daily protein requirements are 1.4-1.8g per kg of body weight
  3. FAT LOSS PROGRAMME – Clients of mine on a weight loss or weight management programme benefit from a slightly higher daily protein allowance of up to 20% of their total daily calorie intake. Proteins such as poultry, meat, meat produce, dairy products and nuts, seeds and pulses are high in protein which keeps you fuller for longer. When increasing protein in your diet it is important to accompany it with exercise to maximise the benefits. Some low fat examples are low fat yogurt, salmon, chicken, eggs and skimmed milk.
  4. VEGETARIAN ATHLETES – Many vegetarian clients of mine through a balanced diet will achieve 10-15% of their total calories through low fat dairy product and meat and fish alternatives such as tofu, nuts and seeds. Plant sources are generally lower in protein so it is essential to eat the right combination of plant-based proteins. It maybe relevant for a vegetarian to supplement their diet particularly when training for a marathon or strength training. Some good examples are quinoa, quorn, tofu, soya milk, eggs, kidney beans, chick peas and baked beans.

Many protein-based meal replacements are designed to have a wide range of nutritional combinations than a protein only supplement so it is important to understand why you are taking it and for what purpose. It is important to know the side effects of too much protein in the diet such as excess protein intake can be stored as fat, some animal products are high in saturated fat and therefor can increase cholesterol and increase the risk of Chronic Heart Disease and can be dangerous to individuals with kidney or liver disease.

If you have any questions related to protein intake why not get in touch!

Are we a nation who drink enough?

How much water is enough?

Although uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. Hyponatremis is a condition when too much water is consumed over a short period of time and the kidney does not have time to filter out the excess. This leaves the sodium concentration in the blood very low and symptoms can include headache, confusion, muscle spasms, nausea or in severe cases swelling in the brain cells.  Electrolytes can be used to replace lost sodium stores and there are plenty well-known brands on the market.

Not having enough fluid can be serious and the importance during exercise of replacing water cannot be over stated. At 3% dehydrated an athlete will have inefficient kidney function, dry mouth, headache and a measurable reduction in exercise performance; at 5% heat exhaustion will result and require medical assistance.

1 liter per 1000 kcal you expend = your daily water requirement

How to assess hydration levels?

It is important to drink before you feel thirsty. When you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated and performance will be affected. It takes time for water to be absorbed into your body and transported. A good indicator is the colour of urine:

Sports drinks are an excellent way of improving performance by improving hydration and glucose replacement. Isotonic drinks contain the same amount of glucose as the body and are absorbed by the gut quicker (4gramms/100ml).

One of my biggest inspirations in life is my Father.  A retired General Practitioner and fitness fanatic, he taught me years ago how to make my own isotonic drink with half fresh fruit juice, half water and a pinch of salt to encourage me to drink more.  It really does the trick and by far cheaper than the shop bought drinks. Give it a try after a hard session and see for yourself.

Cut your food bill on Superfoods…..

Goji berries, chia seeds, coconut oil, kale and quinoa are to name a few that have been branded superfoods in the recent years. Promising to be cancer protecting, immune boosting, protection against heart disease and helping burn more fat. They are expensive! 6 times more expensive than the alternatives.

Here is a list of cheaper alternatives to try out that and they offer the same health benefits:

  • Coconut oil         Rapesead oil or vegetable oil
  • Chia seeds          Pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds
  • Kale                      Cabbage or spring greens
  • Goji berries        Frozen summer fruits
  • Quinoa                Pearl barley

A few other foods that have claim to protect against heart disease and some cancers are:

  • Eggs – high in protein, vitamin A, D, E, K, B6 and B12 and inexpensive.
  • Oily fish (salmon, mackerel and sardiens)- high in protein, omega-3 and vitamin D and B.
  • Blueberries- high in fiber, vitamins K and C and also high in antioxidants.

I like to tell my clients that food is like Batman and exercise like Robin; no matter how much exercise you do if your diet is not balanced and controlled you will struggle to meet your health goals.  Not sure if you are getting a good balanced diet and would like to have a food analysis done please get in touch. Fit + Fabulous will deconstruct your current diet and offer healthier suggestion to help you achieve your goal.

 

A day in a life of a Personal Trainer

The fitness industry is worth nearly £4 billion in the UK and a difficult industry to govern. It is important to question those who are giving fitness and nutritional advice and on what recommendations they seek their findings.  When hiring a Personal Trainer or joining a gym don’t be afraid to question what qualifications they have or dig deep about their principles or industry and life experiences.

I want my clients to have fun, relate to me and most importantly get the results they desire. I individualise all my clients sessions, I participate and keep in contact with them on a regular basis. My aim is to understand their goals, likes and dislikes; understand their busy lifestyles and how fitness fits in. What are my goals?

  • Respect – for you to seek help to get fit, lose weight or change your lifestyle it is a big step and one not to be sniffed at. Many of my client are anxious and nervous when we meet for the first time as it is a step that they have been thinking about for a long time. It is a huge investment of their time and money which has not been taken lightly and I value that.  A PT should spend time getting to know their client, understanding their lifestyle, their family life and what motivates them.  Its about you!
  • Flexibility – as much as we plan things, obsticals are thrown in our way; such as life! Being a mum of two and wife of a very hard working husband, time is of the essence. I know so many people that have gym memberships and use them once or twice a month, its a huge expense.  I work as a mobile personal trainer so I come to you. There are so many local parks that are great spaces to use as training ground in all weather. Despite the unpredictability of the Scottish weather you would be surprised at how much fun it is to train out doors. There are so many training methods to accommodate short periods of time. There is no need to spend hours training; effective weight loss and health benefits can be done in as little as 30 minutes at any given time.
  • Fair but firm -I train hard, I don’t always enjoy it at the time but when I get the results I want, it is all worth while.   In the past I have competed in races where I have pushed my body to its limits and tried to do it in the name of my children. In the end, despite my love for my kids, I only every perform when I want it for myself. I believe what you put in is what you get back. I would never ask any of my clients to do anything I would not do myself. All I ask is that you try your hardest and you do it for yourself! When you don’t succeed, try again!
  • Approachable – I have spent a lot of time and money to be industry qualified, setting up my company and helping my clients achieve their goals. I have been a sports enthusiast since school; I grew up having a very active, outdoor family lifestyle and principals.  However, I am not unique or indifferent to you;  I have a family, a career, friends and hobbies that consume my time. I am not here to judge you! I am here to help you meet your goals and expectations and most definitely have fun.

Never had a personal trainer or a gym membership but want to find out more? Why not follow me on Facebook or Twitter to get up to date information. Get in touch for more information or even try my exercise videos on Youtube.

 

 

Fit + Fabulous top 5 running tips

1. Forget the glass slippers. I’m a sucker for exercise clothing! Generally, the clothing and footwear are very comfortable to wear due to the technical ability of the garment whether it be the flexibility, lightness or breath-ability. If there is one thing I suggest taking time over to purchase it’s footwear. I have 6 pairs of trainers in my wardrobe at the moment and all completely warranted (much to my husband’s disgust). I run on road, trail, cross country and track; all of which have different footwear and I have other pairs for training within the gym and studio environment.
For me, the correct footwear for running is key to help avoid injury and discomfort. There are many high street specific sport shops in Glasgow such as Achillies Heel, Sweat Shop and Run4It that will help you get the correct shoe to match your running style. Don’t scrimp on footwear, invest in your feet!
2. No ‘I’ in TEAM or maybe there is! When I first started running I did it on my own, two nights a week. After a few months I fatigued and I started to find reasons not to go out. I found a beginners running group at my local sports center and started running with them once a week to try and give me motivation. Guess what? It worked! Before long I needed to be pushed further so joined a local Running Club, Garscube Harriers and I have never looked back.
Running Clubs are an excellent way to get fit and meet like-minded people, they are substantially cheaper than a gym membership too. Having the company when training is an excellent way to stay motivated. There are running clubs for all abilities out there.
3. Get race day ready. Technology in all sports is moving at a fierce rate – Oh my, I sound old! GPS has added a new dimension for runners by helping to create an online social network, opening up new routes and helping runners set higher PBs. There are many applications that you can download onto your phone or watches that will keep you motivated by tracking your progress. I love going out a run and uploading my run from my Garmin onto Strava (there are other brands available). It enables me see how consistent I have run over the duration of time, highlight my achievements and set new targets.
The best motivation for me is booking a race in the diary, something to train for. There are a host of different races throughout the year across Scotland whether it be road, cross country, track, trail, hill or multi-sport races such as duathlons. Websites such as entrycentral.com and Scottishrunningguide.com make finding one easier.
4. Eat, drink, run, repeat. I know many runners who run on an empty stomach but let me tell you there are reasons why you need food and water before you run. Running is an aerobic activity and uses the food we eat to convert to energy. Energy is released into the body by the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The best sources of food to fuel the muscles in the presence of oxygen during aerobic exercise are carbohydrates and fats. Before a run I always stay hydrated by sipping water regularly and eat a snack an hour or more before a run. Carbohydrates feature high in my diet and even more so if I am training for a longer distance.
Dietary advice is something Fit + Fabulous really focuses on for all their clients. If you have any queries on what to eat to get the best from your running why not Contact Us?
5. Limber up and ease the throttle. When I started running and before I trained as a Personal Trainer I was not consistent with warming up and cooling down. Since doing it religiously it has made a huge difference to my performance, recovery and flexibility. Your warm up consists of a couple of components over 5 – 10 minutes so let’s break it down:
• Mobility – focus on releasing synovial fluid around the joints that are specific to running thus enabling smooth and easy joint movements and avoiding injury. This only takes 1-2 minutes to do. Try doing some shoulder shrugs, torso twists, side bends, abduct the hip joints and flex the knees before your run.
• Pulse-raising – warm up and increase blood flow to the working muscles and slowly elevate your heart rate. It is important to slowly elevate the intensity over 5 minutes or so until you are feeling moderately active and warm enough to do some pre-stretches. Your first kilometer should be your slowest one!
• Pre-stretches – should only be done after a warm up when the muscles are warm and held for very short periods of time such as 6-10 seconds if static or small range of movements if dynamic. This only takes 1-2 minutes of the warm up.
It is important to consider factors which affect a warm up such as environment, time of day, intensity of the session and your own level of ability. For example, if it is cold you may need a longer pulse raiser or if the session is going to be very demanding more time should be spent on the preparation to optimise the body’s readiness.
What about the cool down? It is just as important and should be done over about 10 – 15 minutes consisting of lowering the pulse and post-stretches. Again similar factors will affect the cool down but it can be summarised as:
• Pulse-lowering – involves tapering the run to lower your heart rate, reduce blood pooling and remove the metabolic waste products of the exercise (lactic acid, noradrenalin and carbon dioxide) from the muscle. It helps reduce delayed onset muscle soreness in the muscles the next day and improves recovery.
• Post-stretches – aims to maintain or increase the flexibility of the range of movement within the specific joints. The range of joint movement is critical to good performance. Maintenance (to maintain range of movement) stretches should be held for 15 seconds and developmental (to improve range of movement) should be done over 30 seconds, progressively deepening the stretch. I would strongly suggest stretching the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and Illiotibial band after a run to help avoid injury and improve performance.
I hope you find my top tips helpful. Any queries, please get in touch to find out more. Happy running!

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