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There were many health and personal training related stories in 2008, some of them more relevant to staying fit and achieving weight loss than others. Over the next few blogs I’ll be having a look at some of the best ones, and the ones that may help us all to get where we want to be in the future. In the reports I have divided the topics mainly into what’s good for us and what’s bad. You’ll notice that one or two things come up in both categories. As personal trainers we are always trying to explain to clients that nearly all foods are both good and bad for us, and the main thing is to keep it as natural as possible and to have a wide and varied diet based on the wholefoods principle. Have a look at the pdf on our “The Knowledge” page. A classic example is nuts ans seeds. Often recommended as a good snacking option, nuts ans seeds have lots of fibre (good), protein (good) and mono and poly-unsaturated fats (good). However they are very calorie dense (bad!) and so although they are good it should be advised that they be eaten in moderation!
So, what did the scientists say in 2008? On of the perennial topics to come up was water. It goes without saying that water is vital for human function-but there’s no need to drink the sometimes recommended 8 glasses a day. In January a team of scientists decided to investigate the claim, and found no evidence to back it up. The body does require substantial amounts of fluids, and 2.5 litres has been suggest as a sensible allowance, but most of this can be found in food, and much of the rest can take the form of juice, tea, coffee, and even beer, in moderation. If you are exercising reasonably often, particularly if it’s vigorous, as with a personal trainer, the 8 glasses becomes more important, and is also a good way of keeping the all important metabolic rate ticking over. So don’t believe everything you read,make sure you don’t go thirsty, but also don’t drink too much water, as this can also be equally bad for you.
Today the first in a series of small but effective things that you can do to stop feeling tired and get a little more get up and go. You may have heard some of these tips before but read on and you might learn something new as well as reinforcing what you already knew but have yet to put into practice.
Tip 1: Substitute coffee for water. A bit like sugar, coffee may give the illusion of giving your energy levels a boost, but this is short lived as the drug starts to leave the body the high turns into a low and your energy levels plummet.
Tip 2: Dehydration is a leading cause of tiredness and by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated, so it’s important to be pre-emptive. Carry a small bottle of water with you and sip from it all day long. Not only will this extra water make you feel much more lively but it will also allow your metabolic rate to increasse and your body to work properly. These two things are also vital if you are hoping for some weight loss. Another way to tell if you are dehydrated is to look at your wee – anything darker than straw couloured and you need to have some more water pronto!
A 2% dehydration leads to a 20% loss of performance. Increase your fluid intake, especially during and after exercise. We are made largely of water, so any lack of the stuff of life has a dramatic effect on you. Tiredness, lethargy, loss of concentration and poor performance can all be attributed to a lack of water. The press have had a field day with this topic over the last few years, how much should we have, is too much bad, what if I have to go to the bathroom 50 times per day and so on.
Try to drink at least 5 glasses a day, remembering to take small sips often – you can actually only assimilate a small amount of water into the body at any time. Also remember that most of the figures bandied about fail to make allowance for the fact that many of the foods we eat actually contain quite a bit of water which also counts towards your allowance (especially if you have taken your personal trainer’s advice and are following the wholefood nutrition plan!). The key is to have a little often provided your work place/lifestyle allows for it, and most importantly of all try not to get thirsty-by this time you are already dehydrated. Moderate alcohol, caffeine and soft drinks. All of these beverages have diuretic properties and make you dehydrated. After drinking these beverages you will be thirstier than before as you will wee out most of the actual water within. Alcoholic drinks also have lots of calories and often contribute to weight problems. If you have more than 4-5 cups of coffee/tea a day try to substitute some of them for caffeine free alternatives, water is really tasty! If your wine is a compulsory de-stresser try to alternate it with a glass of water per glass of wine; alternating drinking days with abstinence days is also a good way of moderating yourself. Living in the real word I often find myself advising my personal training clients in the Berkshire area to drink clear spirits (less impurities and less calories) and to mix them with soda water or slimline tonic. If you must get lashed and go dancing then do it on a good vodka and slim-line tonic, or my personal favourite (not that I drink, of course) would be vodka, soda and lime.
Do remember though, that alcohol does come from distilling which involves sugar, so each drink you are having is like a small Kit Kat. Would you really go out on a Saturday and have 10 Kit-Kat’s in a row? Good luck and take it easy, moderation rules!!