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There are lots of gimmicks and fads out there, but some of them are actually supported by valid studies. Our personal trainers in London and Berkshire try to encourage our clients to eat well and in moderation, but what you drink also has a huge effect on how you look and feel. Today’s cheat is green tea. A recent study by the University of Birmingham shows that by drinking green tea you can maximise the fat burned during exercise. Men who took a green tea extract before hitting the gym increased their fat burning rates by a whopping 17%. This is thought to be a result of the caffeine in the tea, as well as the high levels of catechins, which combine to produce a thermogenic effect which in turn plays a part in the control of body composition. Thermogenic comes from thermogenisis, or the production of heat, especially in humans and animals; more heat = more calories burned. Lean muscle mass also creates more heat and explains why I am always roasting and the missus is always freezing. So if you do some structured resistance training and have some green tea beforehand you will be cooking! Previous studies have also credited green tea with reducing appetite as well as lowering bad cholesterol.
Not just a myth, water can indeed help you to lose weight and keep it off. It’s also vital to survive and make sure that all your complex systems are working properly. Water, being quite bulky, can promote feelings of fullness, especially if you have some before a main meal. Staying well hydrated also means that you can perform better when exercising , so burning more fuel and helping to create that all important deficit in energy that you need to get smaller. Remember that the feeling of being hungry is very similar to the feeling of being thirsty, sometimes a glass of water will make you eat much less.
The gym is not always the best place to get fit. It may be a bit of a drive away (even 10 minutes each way can turn a 1 hour sesion into an hour and a half, which you may struggle to fit into your day), you may not like other people gawking at you or you may not fancy the fees. A half hour workout at home with just 2 bits of kit, (dumbells and a stability ball) done 3 or 4 times a week can be more effective than hours slogging away in the gym. Supersetting (alternating between upper body and lower body) keeps recovery times between exercises short and also gets the heart rate up in a time-efficient way. Remember to warm up using some body weight exercises like squats and push ups, skipping is also good or use the stairs/a step to get you going. Choose a weight that will take you close to failure for the last few repetitions. Take 2 seconds to lift the weight up and 2 to lower it down.
1 – Gym Ball Push up-
2 – Dumbbell Lunge-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSvAMBGbQAY
3 – Dumbell bent over row-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-c7Zz2VjwI
4 – Jumping squat-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZZc18uX-q8
5 – Reverse Flye on the Ball-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7tq3c6HOI8
6 – Hamstring Curl on the Ball-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czf-1snzG2c
7 – Lunge with a shoulder press-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldmgZjJzyEo
8 – Dumbell Woodchop-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuiEZWIHWrA
9 – Plank on the Ball-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqnN2_gt9Ko
There are lots of good demos of these exercises on Youtube, have a look. If in doubt one of our personal trainers can do a session or two with you to show you the ropes and then set you free!! Apologies for some of the presenters in the clips, it’s beyond our control!
Some personal trainers may come out with lots of complex phrases to make you think that they know what they are doing. At Diets Don’t Work we always like to explain these phrases to our clients as part of their ongoing education; it’s better to give someone a fishing rod and show them how to use it than to give them a fish.
The key term today is Eccentric. Usually pronounced eee-centric it does not mean doing squats with a kilt on. The eccentric part of an exercise is the movement where the muscle fibres are lengthening under tension, so the part of a squat where you lower yourself downwards before pushing back up. This eccentric phase of exercise (also sometimes known as the ‘negative’ part of a repetition) is harder for the muscles than the positive, pushing or concentric section, causing more damage to muscle fibres. It is thus the most important part of the exercise and should always be done in a slow controlled manner. A 2 second count is a good guide. Super slow repetitions over 4 seconds or more are also really effective and provide a good variation to your workout.
The simple answer is very. They have lots of good qualities, but as with any type of training kit there are possible dangers and things that might go wrong. Here I’ll look at a few of each.
Why should I use kettlebells? Whereas most traditional forms of resistance training are best for strength, kettlebells improve strength, cardio vascular fitness and flexibility. Because they are used with speed and dynamism they develop power and will also send your heart rate racing! Because the core of kettlebell exercises are relatively simple they allow the body to gain maximum leverage and can be used safely for very high repetitions. They also work lots of muscle groups at once (including the all important core) so are very efficient. And finally they are really versatile; try using a bell as a free weight, stretching tool, an actual bell as well as a doorstop!
There are things to be careful with when using the bells, especially for the beginner; people commonly over-use the back muscles when performing simple swinging exercises instead of using the muscles in the legs and core – this is where the explosive power should come from. Another common problem is overuse of the arms. The aim in standard throws is to squat and explode, jumping the leg, hip and back muscles to power the bell into upward freefall; the arms should just be the lever connecting the bell to you, and not the primary movers. Some exercises require special attention to detail too-the snatch (lifting the bell from the floor overhead in one clean movement) requires punching through to the top. Lack of commitment will mean that the bell will come down with a thump and bang your wrist. Control of the bell is important in all overhead moves, so try to vary your grip and also avoid letting the elbow travel in front of the wrist (or letting the wrist go behind you if you like) as this could damage your rotator cuff. These, as I know, take ages to heal!
The best moves with a kettlebell? In my humble opinion number 1 is the simple swing, which is easy to learn, fun to do and does not degrade technically as you get tired. It also teaches us to sit back (stick the bum out) and drive from the back of the leg using the glutes, quads and lower back in the correct way. This technique is very important in many barbell, bodyweight and gym moves, from squats to a dead-lift. My Number 2 is everyone’s favourite, the Turkish get up. Not only will this provide great CV but it uses almost every muscle in the body as well as challenging co-ordination, balance and flexibility.
Most of these exercises can be found online or on youtube, but remember it’s always best to get professional help at least to start with. Remember that our personal training sessions include kettlebell training if you would like to have a go.
(From The Daily Mail)
Combining a wide variety of foods from porridge oats to blueberries is the key to a long and healthy life, a study has found.
Researchers from Lund University in Sweden looked at the effect that eating a number of anti-inflammatory boosting foods could have on the body, rather than testing them separately. They found that such a diet could reduce cholesterol -an indicator of heart disease – by a third and also brought blood pressure down by eight per cent. This suggested there was a beneficial cumulative effect in a wide-ranging diet and requires a lifestyle overhaul instead of making just a few changes to your cuisine.
‘The results have exceeded our expectations. I would like to claim that there has been no previous study with similar effects on healthy subjects’, said study author Professor Inger Björck, head of the University’s Antidiabetic Food Centre. It has long been known that a healthy diet protects you against a range of diseases such as heart problems and cancer. Anti-oxidant rich fruit and vegetables, nuts, oily fish and whole grains have all been highlighted in previous research.
However, the latest study suggests that varied meals had a greater impact than adding single foods. Professor Björck said it was not possible to tell which foods had the greatest positive effect. “That’s the point,” she said.
‘We believe in the idea of combined effects. Drug or specific products with health claims affect only one or maybe a couple of risk factors. By a combination of food you can in a simple and striking way affect many risk parameters simultaneously.”
The study was based on 44 healthy but overweight people aged between 50 and 75 years old. Over four weeks they ate foods which are presumed to reduce low-grade inflammation in the body, a condition that triggers metabolic syndrome and thus obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The test diet was high in antioxidants, low-GI foods (slow release carbohydrates), omega fatty acids, wholegrain products, probiotics and viscous dietary fibre.
Examples of foods eaten were oily fish, barley, soy protein, blueberries, almonds, cinnamon, vinegar and a certain type of wholegrain bread. The results showed bad cholesterol was reduced by 33 per cent, blood lipids (fats) were down by 14 per cent and a risk marker for blood clots by 26 per cent. A marker of inflammation in the body was also greatly reduced, while memory and cognitive function were improved.
Professor Björck said: ‘We hope that these results on healthy subjects will inspire more preventative efforts in society.’
Inflammation is believed to be a key cause for chronic diseases and can cause cells to turn cancerous.
Cancer kills one in five men and one in seven women, while heart disease kills more than 110,000 people in England every year.
Remember that part of what we do with all personal training clients is to look at their nutrition and implement lasting but easy changes that, combined with some proper structured exercise will get them trim and slim. There is also lots of (free!) nutritional information on our site – if you read it and do only half of what we recommend you will succeed!.
“The devil has put a penalty on all things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer in health or we suffer in soul or we get fat.”
A witty observation, but not strictly true. If you can up your metabolic rate through increased energy output (through more activity, resistance training to increase lean muscle mass, change of routine) and eat reasonably healthy yet tasty things most of the time then or some of the time (lets say 10-20%) you can have some cake, and eat it.
This is the ethos of the personal trainers that work for us at Diets Don’t Work in The London and Berkshire areas. We feel that it’s really important not to be miserable when trying to lose weight and/or get fit. So through structured targeted and sustainable exercise, with sensible eating you can do it.
SPAM – Small Portions And Move!
When your mean personal trainer has made you do lots of homework training and you have tripped on a child’s toy and bruised your ankle, the rehabilitation protocol of RICE should be used. This stands for Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. I have been through Ice and Elevation in previous blogs but today we will have a look at elevation. The aim of elevation is to lower the blood pressure and therefore limit the bleeding in the tiny blood vessels at the site of injury. This reduces swelling and so reduces the pain.It also encourages drainage of the lymphatic system which gets rid of dead blood cells. So by using gravity we limit the body’s overreaction to injury and help the remodelling phase get started sooner. To elevate the injured limb use a cushion or pillow and do it as soon as possible after the injury and continue for 48-72 hours thereafter every couple of hours if you can.
After 2-3 days though it is vitally important to get the injured area moving; this prevents scar tissue forming and allows both muscle and soft tissue to heal so that it will regain it’s former glory.
Traditionally, stretching (static stretching in particular) has been done before exercise. However modern studies show that stretching when the muscles are not fully warmed up has no benefits for injury prevention, and can even be detrimental. Like a rubber band or car tyre, heat greatly increases the elasticity of muscle fibres, so the best time to stretch is when you are really well warmed up. Now this is not to say that stretching should not be done before exercise, just don’t do it very first thing in a routine or session. Warm up conventionally starting slowly for a few minutes then increasing the pace (walking, jogging, using a CV machine etc) and then when warm stretch. As your heart rate will have fallen during the stretching you now need to re-heat as we like to call it at Diets Don’t Work by doing another mini warm up. Dynamic stretches are also excellent after this mini re-heat warm up. A full more focused static stretch should be done after exercise. Good luck! Remember that with all our personal trainers you get the rock star stretch treatment where the trainer stretches you as opposed to doing it yourself.
Congratulations to Helen our personal training victim in Maidenhead who has met her deadline challenge and thus avoided having to do 10 400m intervals with personal trainer extraordinaire Adam Atkinson at Braywick Park. We set her a challenge to lose a centimetre from her waist over 4 weeks, and she has responded brilliantly by doing all the homework that we suggested and obviously eating really well too.
So 5 gold stars to Helen; well done and keep it up!