0800 040 7526
Our personal trainer client Nick in Virginia Water recently had his annual BUPA health check. As well as doing tremendously well his doctor had some other interesting advice. Although you may be eating really well, and having lots of fibre, lean protein, fruit and vegetables, if everything going down your throat is a similar colour (brownish for example) than you need to try to eat more primary coloured foods. These bright colours (reds, yellows, greens, oranges) are indicative of foods that contain micro-nutrients that are not found in other things.
Many clients who have their BUPA health checks done also suffer from being too good – they have all read or heard that too much red meat can cause CHD (chronic heart disease) and arterial problems later on in life. However, by avoiding it altogether people can end up with a low red blood cell count and low iron. So long as the red meat is of good quality (filet, sirloin, rump) and has had the fat cut off then red meat is good for you. Don’t have it every day but a least once a week is the recommendation of us here at Diets Don’t Work.
So to ensure that you are getting all the micro nutrients as well as all the main vitamins and minerals that you need to look like a young svelte gazelle and be mistaken for someone half your age, eat some lean red meat with primary coloured vegetables!
Nick, our famously chic and fit personal trainer client in Wentworth has just had his annual BUPA health check. This is the full monty, including a finger up the bottom, ECG, anaerobic threshold, VO2 max and lots of other fun things. Three years into his personal training and, even at his age, everything is still getting better. Measurements are smaller, resting heart rate lower (41, similar to that of an elite athlete) and arms more beefy. The interesting thing is that even his hearing is better. That can only be from being shouted at by his Personal Trainer. So despite the law of diminishing returns – this states that the fitter you are the harder the improvements are to come by – he is still getting better. Well done Nick, you’ve done it again. 5 gold stars and permission to be smug with all work mates for 2 weeks is granted.
Read about Nick on our Success Stories page.
A stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis is to be tested on patients in the UK for the first time.
A year-long trial, funded by Arthritis Research UK, will mix stem cells with cartilage cells in the lab and inject them back into damaged knee joints. The new treatment could be an alternative to joint replacement surgery, experts hope.
Using keyhole surgery, a patient’s cartilage cells – also known as chondrocytes – and bone marrow stem cells will be removed and grown in a laboratory for three weeks. They will then be re-implanted separately in some patients, and mixed together in other patients, into the area of damaged or worn cartilage. Scientists will then test the effectiveness of all three types of cell therapy, based on the quality of the new cartilage formed over a period of 12 months.
Chondrocytes – cartilage cells – have been grown in a lab and re-injected into patients’ damaged knees for the last 15 years. But scientists now want to find out if combining cartilage cells and stem cells in the same process could work better, and specifically if one type of cell stimulates the other. Osteoarthritis affects an estimated 8m people in the UK. The condition is caused by wear and tear to the surface of joints, leading to stiffness and pain. At present there is little effective treatment for osteoarthritis patients, apart from pain-relieving drugs and joint replacement.
The trial will focus on knee joints, but the results could have implications for other joints, say the scientists.
The advantage of stem cell treatment is that it’s much less invasive than major joint replacement surgery. Sally Roberts, the lead scientist on the project at Keele University says “it’s a more biological approach”.
“We are using the body’s own cells to repair damaged joints. The hope is that it will be permanent and long-term repair,” she said. But, even if successful, the treatment won’t be used on everyone with osteoarthritis. “Surgeons don’t want to put implants into young patients in their 30s, so we are targeting these people for the use of this cell therapy if we can produce robust new cartilage cells. “Stem cells certainly have huge potential – we just need to learn how to harness it properly,” she added. Jane Tadman, spokesperson for Arthritis Research UK, said: “This is just the start of developing this technique, and it could be a few years before such treatment will be in routine use.”
Until this treatment becomes routine there is lots an individual can do to maintain healthy knees and joints. Many of the personal trainer clients that come to us for fitness gains and weight loss have painful arthritic knees, and believe that this will make exercise impossible for them. But resistance training will strength the quadriceps and other knee supporting knee muscles, keeping the patella in line and taking pressure off the cartilage. Good exercises are:
Once the knees are getting better you can progress to more weight bearing dynamic exercises like:
If in doubt you might want to consider recruiting professional help with a personal trainer or gym instructor.
Some of us may be guilty of being slaves to the aesthetic. When exercising we spend many hours working on the bits that we can see in the mirror (chest, biceps, abdominal muscles) while neglecting those things that we can’t, like the back, lats and hamstrings. This is all good and well but if we spend all our efforts chest pressing for example, over time our pectoral muscles will begin to overpower our upper back muscles. This results in postural imbalance, possible injury, and probable hunching of the shoulders for a Notre Dame-esque look. Not nice. So be sure to always work opposing muscle groups. If you push, then spend equal time pulling. Taken to it’s extreme you could actually go the other way around, spending more time pulling (upper back) than pushing, in order to get nice straight shoulders, an upright back and fabulous posture. This will help to counter a hunched (kyphotic) posture that can result from working at a desk or computer all day. Guys, it will make you look taller. Girls, it will make your chest look perkier! So be balanced, and be good. For a full low down on resistance training have a look at our resistance training fact sheet on the knowledge page.
In a forthcoming study, British researchers secretly sped up or slowed down music by 10 per cent and observed the effect on subjects riding exercise bikes. Sure enough, like marionettes on musical strings, the riders unconsciously sped up or slowed down. The results add to a complex body of research on how distractions influence our exercise performance, extending far beyond the simple psych-up provided by motivational lyrics. Instead of just hitting shuffle next time you’re at the gym, you might be able to harness these benefits by taking control of your playlist to enhance your workout. The dominant theory about why music boosts exercise performance is that we have a limited ability to pay attention to the information our senses gather. Focus on sounds and sights, the theory goes, and you’re less aware of the distress signals your muscles are sending you. A 2007 study by Vince Nethery of Central Washington University offered support for this theory. Subjects exercising at a constant workload reported less discomfort when listening to music or watching a video. In contrast, an earlier study by Dr. Nethery found that subjects wearing earplugs and a blindfold reported greater levels of discomfort during exercise, presumably because they had nothing to focus on except their fatigue. The new study by Jim Waterhouse and his colleagues at Liverpool John Moores University, which appeared in 2009 in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, adds a new twist by controlling the factors that usually confound studies of music and exercise: personal preferences, volume, pitch, duration, genre, lyrics and so on.
The researchers chose six tracks that “reflected current popular taste among the undergraduate population” and combined them into a single 25-minute program, then digitally altered them to create faster and slower versions without changing the pitch. The subjects exercised to three versions of the playlist with a week in between each session, and none of them noticed the differences in tempo. A 10-per-cent difference is quite small, Dr. Waterhouse says: “Compare the interpretations of Beethoven symphonies by [conductors Arturo] Toscanini and [Otto] Klemperer, for example.” The effect of tempo confirms the findings of several earlier studies, albeit with greater rigour. What’s new, though, is the fact that the subjects reported greater enjoyment and higher levels of perceived exertion after the sped-up session. In other words, the faster music didn’t simply distract them from their discomfort, it motivated them to happily endure greater levels of discomfort. This result – along with many other conflicting studies in this area – suggests that the music-as-distraction theory ignores broader “psychosocial” factors, says Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in Britain. He identifies rhythm, “musicality”, cultural impact and the external associations of the song as the four key factors influencing a listener’s response.
As a result, attempts to find universal effects of particular pieces, styles or even speeds of music on exercise are doomed. Instead, Dr. Karageorghis says, people should tailor their playlists to their personal preferences, and gyms should play different types of music by the cardio machines (faster) and by the weights (motivational lyrics). Dr. Waterhouse’s study also highlights an often-overlooked point: Playing the wrong music – slower tempos, in this case – can slow your workout down. Interestingly, some researchers have found preliminary evidence that watching TV or videos slows down your workout even more, suggesting that too much distraction not only dulls your pain but also distracts you from putting forth an honest effort. The difference between video and music may have something do with the active attention required to watch a video – holding your head in the right position, for example – compared with passively listening to music, Dr. Nethery says.
“It may also highlight the value of rhythm associated with music,” he adds. That would mean listening to a podcast or to talk radio would be more akin to watching a TV show than listening to music, though this hypothesis has yet to be tested.
Of course, even the “wrong” distractions are still beneficial if they get you out the door or keep you exercising longer. But it’s worth being aware of the effects. Try paying attention to how different songs make you feel and perform during different exercises, and you may learn how to give yourself a boost when you most need it.
Today I was rowing on the concept 2 doing my most horrid routine: 5 sets of 3 min intervals at sub 1:45/500m with one minute slow recovery. All was going reasonably well until my ipod shuffled onto some Enya, at which point I nearly died. From the physical effort, not the Enya. Some suggested songs (very subjective, music, so feel free to ignore): Van Halen “Ain’t talking ’bout love”:Britney “Toxic”; Rage against the Machine “Killing in the Name”. I wanted to kill the rower after that one.
The Egg Marketing Board was recently stopped from advertising eggs as a stand alone breakfast. This is course implies that you would have eggs on their own (unlikely, toast or soldiers anyone?) and more importantly that eggs have too much cholesterol in them which might lead to high cholesterol levels in the blood. Here is the DDW opinion:
Eggs are a fantastic food that contain a huge number of vitamins and minerals that are required by the body for optimal health and growth. They are also an excellent and affordable source of protein, which is needed to provide essential amino acids to the body.
One large hard-boiled egg only contains 78 calories and 5.3g of fat, with only 1.6 of those grams of fat being saturated fat, which are not good for the body and can lead to cardiovascular and heart disease.
The level of cholesterol in eggs is high (212mg in 1 large hard-boiled egg), however recent research has discovered that the level of cholesterol contained in a food, has little significance to the amount of cholesterol contained in a person’s blood. Cholesterol levels in the blood are also controlled by exercise, have a look at our success stories page see our personal trainer client from Virginia Water Nick.
In other words, if you consume a food that is rich in cholesterol, it does not mean that the cholesterol levels in your blood will rise. It has been discovered that it is in fact the amount of saturated fat in a food that is responsible for the rise in a person’s blood cholesterol levels and is a risk factor of heart disease. Foods such as cakes, biscuits, crisps and processed foods are high in saturated fats.
As a result of these recent findings, healthy people do not have to limit their consumption of eggs to two a week, as they could be losing out on the many other beneficial properties of eggs.
Eggs also provide significant amounts of vitamin A, B, D and E and are rich in calcium, iron, selenium, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, sodium and magnesium. They are low in sugar and do not contain any carbohydrates.
So as with all things don’t have 10 a day, be sure to have lots of veg and some fruit, proceed with moderation but don’t be afraid of eggs!
Many of our dedicated and keen personal trainer clients in London and Berkshire are off on holiday over the course of the next few weeks daahling. It would seem that summer really is here. Now an unfortunate rule of fitness and weight is this: to lose weight and keep it off you need to be really quite good and lose just 1-2 lbs a week. This ensures that you will not lose any lean muscle mass, thus depressing your metabolic rate, decreasing the number of calories you use each day in the long term and so making weight gain after your efforts likely. Now the unfair part: to put on weight all you have to do is stop exercising, eat lots of scones, and hey presto you are not so much a mountain goat as a weighty water buffalo.
Now of course we want you to have fun on your hollies, but if you can just try to be pre-emptive and exercise a bit then all will be well. So if you are staying at an all-inclusive, and it’s whole Hawaiian pig roast night with mojitos thrown in, a light breakfast, steady lunch and little jog on the beach in the morning will mean that you can have fun with a reasonably clear conscience. Some sets of squats would also help as they use so many muscles and so keep the calorie-burning lean muscle going.
So have fun, and remember your sun block.
If you want to size up a man’s muscle power, listen to him speak says the New Scientist. A study has revealed that people can judge a man’s strength just from listening to a short recording of his voice. And it’s not solely connected to the volume or the pitch of the voice; these qualities are not “reliably predictive of strength” according to Dr Aaron Sell of the University of California.
He asked a group of volunteers, male and female, to listen to recordings of men of different nationalities and cultures, from Romanian college students to Andean farmers. The subjects made brief non aggressive statements, and then the listeners were asked to rate the men’s physical strength. Using a scale of 1-7 they predicted the strength of the men with remarkable accuracy, regardless of the language that had been used. The predictions were in fact as accurate as when the volunteers were asked to rate the men’s strength by looking at them. Dr Sell speculates that this unusual ability must come from a time in our evolutionary past when making a quick decision about someone’s physical prowess could be a matter of life or death.
Resistance training will help to make you stronger, which has heaps of benefits (it’s part of every personal trainer programme that we do with our clients), so will this change your voice? Not sure about that one, but remember, strong people are usually not overweight and also have greater chances of living longer healthier lives!
I have the pleasure of training one of my yummy mummies in Windsor once or twice a week. She lives very centrally, so on fine days we go to the long walk by Windsor castle and do our session outside. Wilson (the Diets Don’t Work Labrador) and Mani (the large French sheepdog) come too, and I also bring my kit bag with my boxing, bands, skipping rope etc as well as the kettlebells. A most unlikely bunch of terrorists one would think. While attaching my rubber tubing resistance bands to the steel fence that borders the Walk, the rather over zealous security chap from the lodge turned up to say that we could not use the fence (security risk!) and in fact should not be exercising in the park. This seemed odd as we were surrounded by joggers, walkers and various other athletic types. Even a cyclist was running the gauntlet (no cycling!). I politely removed my obviously lethal rubber tubing, and despite asking why we could not use the fence for resistance band work got no answer.
So, off we went for a warm up jog. As we came back to base camp the royal protection detail Range Rover zoomed by, out jumped a copper who proceeded to have a poke through my bag. “Human rights!” I hear you cry. He then warned us not to leave a bag unattended (does this include picnic hampers?) as the Queen might be taking a stroll (never) and get hurt by a flying Labrador wielding ninja AL-Qaeda skipping rope.
We grovelled (as one does to grumpy armed officers) and off he went, leaving us feeling harassed.
So beware the long walk and especially bored security types who should possibly be given some gardening to do or some other manual task to keep them occupied. We will continue to fly the flag for personal training outdoors despite the protestations of the fascist state of Berkshire. One would hope that the Queen or at least Charles might read this blog and a) get a personal trainer b) encourage their subjects to exercise, stay healthy, reduce the burden on the NHS and thus free up more resources for the construction of a cycle path down the long walk in Windsor for both personal trainer types and general exercisers too.
A wider knowledge of simple first aid techniques could save thousands of lives each year, the St John Ambulance charity has said. It is focusing a new campaign on five health emergencies which account for 150,000 deaths each year in England and Wales. These include heart attacks, choking and severe bleeding. Research shows that many people first onto the scene of an accident did not know what to do, and would wait for help to arrive before helping themselves. The first 5 minutes after an accident are often the difference between life and death. The charity is offering a free pocket booklet which it feels will boost the survival chances of many more patients. It believes that if confident first aiders were present on more occasions, many lives would be saved.
Although we rarely have to use it all personal trainers at Diets Don’t Work are highly qualified and hold a relevant first aid certificate. A qualified first aider must know how to recognise and deal with life threatening problems, to administer artificial ventilation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, to control bleeding, to protect injuries from infection and other complications and to arrange for professional medical attention and transportation in the shortest possible time. The first aider must take control of the situation, organise bystanders and most of all keep calm while working under pressure.
Some points to remember if you are faced with an emergency:
Then do your ABC’s:
Airway: place hand on casualty’s forehead to open the airway and check for obstructions. Place two fingers under the casualty’s chin and lift the jaw to bring the tongue away from blocking the trachea.
Breathing: place your cheek close to the casualty’s mouth and at the same time look at the chest for movement, look listen and feel for breathing for at least 10 seconds. If breathing, place in the recovery position, but DO NOT move if you suspect back or spine damage, leave in the position as you found them.
Circulation: check this every 10 seconds, look, feel and listen for signs of life, check the neck or wrist for a pulse.
So hopefully that will help, remember that we will not push you to the point of first aid in any of our personal training sessions!! It’s just important that if you are thinking about having some sessions with a personal trainer be sure that they are properly qualified, as the industry is fairly unregulated and many claim to be a trainer without the requisite knowledge. All our personal trainers in London, Windsor, Maidenhead and the Thames Valley are qualified to REPS level 3, including first aid.