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Anthony Gaskell finished this year’s London Marathon in the fastest time ever recorded by anyone over 65, but it has since been revealed that he took a 10-mile short cut. Gaskell, a 69-year-old from the Wirral in Merseyside, completed the marathon in a mere three hours and five minutes to find himself in the record books. The OAP was due to receive a plaque marking his achievement but, six weeks after the event, it was uncovered that he took 10 miles off the course. Observers questioned how a previously unknown veteran could have performed with such distinction, and an enquiry revealed he completed the second half in under an hour – a time which would have obliterated that of the world record holder, Haile Gebrselassie. Gaskell was shown to have cut the course just after Tower Bridge, where he subsequently claimed he was injured after falling over a runner ahead of him who had tripped on a safety barrier. He has insisted he never claimed to have run the last part of the course and that he did not try to pass off the winning time as his own.
“I simply walked through a short cut to the end of the course where my belongings were waiting for me. I had no idea that anyone thought I’d won,” Gaskell told the Daily Mail. “I didn’t bother to check the website for the final standings because I knew I had dropped out.”
According to his electronic timing chip, worn by all runners, he completed the first 20km in just over two hours. There was then a gap in the chip readings before he crossed the 40km mark around 41 minutes later. Gaskell’s disqualification is good news for 66-year-old Colin Rathbone, who finished 38 seconds behind after completing the full 26 miles and 385 yards and will now receive the fastest pensioner’s plaque. Mr Rathbone, from Northwich in Cheshire, said: “I trained for the race for months, starting proper marathon training in January. I had to stop for a while with a bad chest infection in the winter but I got through it.
“Last year I came third in the over-65 race and I wanted to win this time. I finished in just over three hours, five minutes and thought I must have won. “It was the best time in 10 years. When I was told I had been beaten I thought, ‘What the heck do you have to do to win this thing? I’m elated that I did actually win. I do wonder what Mr Gaskell’s motivation was.”
While Mr Gaskell insists he is still a serious runner with the Wirral Athletics Club, it says he has no connection to it. General secretary Leo Carroll said: “Tony Gaskell has not been a paid-up member for at least 12 years.”
If you are thinking of competing in a marathon then by all means go for it. As Mr Rathbone has shown us anyone with determination and a reasonable lead in time whose body works reasonably well can do it. The key as with all these types of race is preparation preparation preparation. A proper marathon running schedule should take at least 3 months, 4 is better and 18 weeks is even better than that. It is essential not just to build up the fitness for an event like this but also the endurance and toughness needed to finish. It’s always a good idea to enlist professional help, even if it’s just for a few sessions to asses where you are and then get a programme designed specifically for you. At Diets Don’t Work we have lots of experience in getting even the most unlikely candidate over the line (have a look at Frances on our success stories page), so you might want to think of having a consultation with one of our personal traners in London and Berkshire.
Skipping is as an inexpensive and simple exercise that can be performed anywhere, either at your home or a nearby park. Most of us (even the boys!) skipped as a child and even if you did not it’s reasonably easy to learn and progress. We use skipping lots in our personal trainer sessions in London and Berkshire as it has lots of fitness benefits and is a fun activity.
Skipping can be beneficial for weight loss and we use it in circuit based sessions to maximise calorific burn in combination with resistance training. It is so effective in burning calories that an hour of skipping rope can burn up to 1000 calories.
2.The exercise is easy to learn, doesn’t need you to look for a guide or coach. The best thing about this activity is that once you start skipping, you learn very quickly and in no time you start skipping like a kid.
3.It’s inexpensive as you only need a rope.
4.It enhances your coordination and rhythm between hands and feet movements.
5.Strengthens your bones and increases your stamina and endurance.
6.It makes you more vigilant and alert. It increases your attention skills.
7.It can be a healthy sport and competitions can be held for it all year round.
8.It can be exercised by people from any age groups and both genders.
9.Skipping enhances flexibility and athletic abilities. It improves your reflexes, balance and posture.
10.It tones your muscles in arms, legs and abs.
11.Without running it speeds your heart rate like that of a runner and so requires a lot of energy to maintain a good fitness point.
So to skip without missing you have to keep changing from a single bounce to a double bounce or to a skip or a jog or a knee up. You should keep changing the skipping style after every 30 seconds to avoid fatigue. To avoid a miss you can even do side skipping or rotating rope without jumping. This can be to warm you up in the start or to avoid any halt during the sets. Another good quick session that you can do 5 times a week (20 minutes a go) is 4-5 minutes of skipping followed by a circuit of push ups, walking lunges, bent over rows, squats with a dumbell shoulder press, plank. Have a minute off then do it again. And remember to stretch all muscle groups afterwards. A stretching guide in on the “stretching” fact sheet on our the knowledge page.
Many of us think that attempts by the government to make our lives safer (health and safety) is nannying and meddling. But when it comes to smoking it seems that nanny really does know best. New research has revealed that one year after the ban on smoking was introduced (2007) the number of people admitted into UK hospitals with heart attacks fell by 1,200 or 2.4%. Other studies have found that in the year after the ban was imposed two billion fewer cigarettes were smoked, and more than 4000,000 people stopped smoking. Researchers estimated that over 10 years this would prevent 40,000 deaths from lung cancer, heart disease and other smoking related conditions.
Exercise also plays a vital role in prevention of these diseases, and even if you are a smoker exercise can help prevent the onset of disease. It can also highlight how unfit smoking has made you, which is a great encouragement to stop. I would also strongly recommend the Allen Carr “Easy Way to Stop Smoking” book or lectures. Several of our personal trainer clients in London and Berkshire have successfully stopped using this method.
To lose weight and get smaller you need to create an energy deficit; you must take in less energy that you expend. In physics terms 2llb of fat is equal to a deficit of 500 calories a day. At first this may sound like a lot, but if you are eating the right foods you can still undercut and not go hungry. Similar to the glycaemic index experts at the University of Sydney have come up with the satiety index, a list of the top 10 foods that fill you up the most. As with any survey or nutritional advice of this kind it’s important to remember that nutrition is a field in which there are many contradictions and contentious issues. The key is to keep it as natural as possible, eat small meals often and exercise in a structured and focused way. The list below can help eaters choose foods wisely in order to minimise calorific intake while staying full. There are also lots of useful tips on our nutrition fact sheet. You can download this for free from our “Knowledge” page.
What is the ‘Satiety Index’? At its simplest, the satiety index, is a measure of how long a particular food will stop you from feeling hungry. It was first developed by Dr Susanne Holt back in 1995. Holt and her colleagues fed volunteers 240 calorie portions of a wide variety of different foods in an attempt to discover which would be the most filling. The foods were served from under a hood to minimize the influence of appearance, and, if possible, they were served at the same temperature and in the same size chunks.
After eating, the volunteers told the researchers what their appetite ratings were, but they were not allowed anything else for the next two hours. Then, after two hours, they were allowed to eat from a small buffet where the scientists measured how much they nibbled from a variety of other foods. Their consumption was closely monitored, and every 15 minutes they were questioned about their hunger to see if their subjective impression of satisfaction matched their eating behaviour. Using this information, Holt and her colleagues were able to put together the satiety index . White bread was taken as the baseline of 100 and other foods were scored on their comparative ability to satisfy hunger. Foods scoring higher than 100 were more satisfying than white bread whereas those scoring under 100 were less satisfying.
So, what are the top ten most filling foods?
1. Potatoes (323% more satisfying than white bread)
2. Fish (225%)
3. Porridge/Oats/Oatmeal (209%)
4. Apples (197%) and Oranges (202%)
5. Wholewheat Pasta (188%)
6. Beef (176%)
7. Beans (168%)
8. Grapes (162%)
9. Wholemeal Bread (157%)
10. Popcorn (154%)
What Makes These Foods So Filling?
Protein: Protein has been shown by numerous studies to be one of the most satiating nutrients. Scientists at the National Institute for Medical Research in France have recently discovered that during its digestion, glucose is produced in the small intestine. The liver senses this and relays a message to the brain to slow down or stop eating — an effect that lasts well after the food has been swallowed.
Fibre: Unlike protein, fibre promotes satiety by slowing the rate at which the food is actually digested. It also triggers stretch receptors in the stomach which automatically sends a signal to the brain to stop eating.
Water Content: Foods with a high fluid content such as apples, oranges and grapes also trigger the stretch receptors however, they are mostly made of water and sugars therefore the speed at which they are digested means that, unlike most other high S.I foods initial feelings of fullness can drop of fairly quickly. “This is why” explains Dr Holt “ that when a dieter eats a meal based on several pieces of fruit and some rice cakes (also very quick to digest) they invariably feel ravenous a few hours later. Despite the meal being low in fat and calories it isn’t at all filling. Far better to eat a wholesome salad sandwich on wholegrain bread with some lean protein like tuna or beef and an apple. This kind of meal can keep hunger at bay for a very long time.”
Volume: Another thing that increases a food’s S.I rating is its bulk. Popcorn for example only contains 55 calories per cup but it takes up a lot of space in the stomach helping to create the feelings of fullness. Fat on the other hand is the exact opposite. At 9 Kcal per gram fat is the most energy dense nutrient we can eat. Just one tablespoon of clotted cream has almost four times more calories than a whole cup of popcorn and yet it takes up far less space in the stomach making it incredibly easy to over consume. Fat greatly enhances the taste of a food too, another reason why we find it so easy to over consume.
Chemical Compounds: The chemical constituents of foods can also make a difference to satiety. Beans and lentils, for example, contain anti-nutrients which delay their absorption. Another reason why they have a tendency to make you feel full for longer.
Chewing: Chewing promotes satiety, partly because it slows down eating but also because it encourages the release of enzymes that register fullness in the brain.