The Importance of Sleep

You probably understand how important it is to have rest days as part of your fitness routine, but have you considered how much sleep you get everyday can affect your overall performance? Sleep is important for both mental and physical health, helping you relax, de-stress, and repair your body, but if you don’t sleep well, your workouts can be affected.

Athletes need more sleep than others as they are working hard, so need to repair their body for similar amounts of time, so they don’t injure themselves. Getting an extra hour at night, or having a nap in the day can really improve performance, as well as keep their body in the fittest possible state.

Being active during the day and making sure you have a good nights sleep can boost energy levels for the next day, allowing you to continue with your normal routine. However, without sleep, your energy levels will be heavily reduced, and this can build up over time, really affecting how your body works. Make sure to have a fair amount of sleep depending on how much you have worked during the day.

Getting enough sleep also allows glycogen levels in your body to increase. Built on the glucose from the food you eat, glycogen is important for stamina and keeping your body healthy. Without it, your body can truly suffer as glucose won’t turn to energy when you need it.

Sleep is needed to help your brain concentrate, and aid its recovery of fatigue. When at the gym or during workouts, hand-eye coordination is very important, so if you’re tired, you won’t perform to the best of your abilities. This also means you won’t get the satisfaction from working out, making it un-enjoyable and something you don’t want to do. Don’t let it become that.

Improve your quality of sleep by choosing a suitable mattress and pillows, so your body can be in a position that isn’t uncomfortable, or results in pain when you wake up. Choice bedding that cares for your spine, and won’t interrupt your sleep. Deep sleeps are best for recovery and helping your body rest, but if interrupted, it could cause more tiredness.

To sum up, sleep is a very important part of your fitness routine, and should be something you focus on, just as much as working out. Find what makes you comfortable, and rest as much as you can, your body will thank you for it.

The Importance Of A Good Breakfast

The early bird catches the worm.
Eat breakfast as a king, lunch as a merchant and supper as a beggar.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Ok, we get it. Breakfast is important. But why?

After sleeping for 7 to 9 hours, your body has basically been fasting. You need to eat in the morning to essentially ‘break the fast’, which gives breakfast its name. Without food in the morning, you are effectively a car with no petrol. You are empty, and need to fill up.

According to nutritionists, breakfast should be eaten between 1 to 2 hours after waking, and should be able to provide 20%-35% of your daily calorie intake. That seems a lot, but breakfast really helps to kick start your day, and keep your energy high until lunchtime. Traditional breakfast choices such as cereal contain iron, a good source of fibre, vitamin B, and so much more, helping your body refill after rest.

It’s essential to eat breakfast if you are looking at weight loss, as filling up on healthy foods in the morning, stops you from reaching for fatty and sugary foods later in the day. Research shows that people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight, so it’s a no brainer for health and fitness reasons to make sure to eat something each morning.

However, if you don't always fancy breakfast, what then? Try and drink some water or fresh fruit juice, just so your body can begin to wake up and restore levels of things you may have lost whilst sleeping. Your body may then crave something more substantial, so try toast, cereal, or a bowl of fruit. Even if you’re not hungry, it’s important to give your body something.

It has also been proven that eating breakfast can restore glucose levels, which help the brain to function, lowers stress, and makes us happier for the upcoming day. Therefore, it’s important for children to eat breakfast before school, so that they are able to retain information better as well as improve attention spans. So, eating breakfast really is important, especially if your plan is to work out or do something that will use lots of your energy.

What do you eat for breakfast to keep you full until lunch?

2018 Fitness Trends

We are now in 2018, and looking back over 2017, it’s so interesting to see how the gym has changed, as well as fitness and working out in general. Looking at that, here are a list of things we feel will become trends at the gym this year!

Virtual Reality Workouts

When we think of Virtual Reality sports, Wii Sports comes to mind, and trying to get a strike whilst bowling on the TV. However, this technology has evolved so much over the years that you can now wear headsets that place you in a 3D world. WE feel that workouts through these VR headsets will be introduced, to try and encourage children, teenagers, and people who spend their days gaming to get active. It may also be the route people take if they are worried about going to the gym so want to try it at home. Even though this sounds exciting, it could be expensive if you don’t already own a VR headset, and it could encourage people to spend even more time using technology!

Group Personal Training sessions

People want personalised workouts; however, they can be expensive if they are one to one. This may turn to group workout sessions, so people can save money, yet still have a personalised workout experience. Classes at the gym are so much fun, but people are looking for something more individual and focused on them, so these group sessions may become more of a thing in 2018.

Gym Technology

Even if they don’t go to a gym, most people own a smart watch of some kind, which tracks their steps and even calories consumed for the day. The technology we have right now is phenomenal, and only keeps getting better. This may lead to everyone owning a smart device to track their workouts and progress soon. Even though the devices can be expensive, they are motivating, and great for the gym!

Outdoor Workouts

Especially coming up to the summer, working out outside will really pick up. A lot of people jog outside, but we think exercising outside will become a thing in 2018. Using walls, benches, and anything else you can find, this essentially free “equipment” is available to everyone, and can be used for wall sits, press ups, bench steps, and so much more. This could be done with a few people, and be really fun in warm and dry weather. That’s the downside though, if the weather changes, your workout might have to also.

Wellness Coaching

Learning about and looking after your mental health is so important, and as a result of this, we think that wellness coaches will be wanted more. People will be able to speak to wellness coaches as well as personal trainers to aim towards having a healthier body and leading a healthier life. We don’t think this will change people’s general goals, but wellness coaches will help how people get to where they want to be, physically and mentally.

We wonder which of these five ideas will become a reality over the upcoming year? Maybe none of them will, but if they do, you heard it here first!

The Benefits of Eating Fish

As everyone should know, fish is an important part of a healthy diet. Whether you are looking at eating better for your body, or looking to continue your workout even outside of the gym, fish is a staple food in a fitness conscious diet, and here’s why:

Fish Lowers Your Risk of Heart Disease

When working out, it’s important to focus on your insides, as well as what your body looks like on the outside. As fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, it’s brilliant for protecting your heart and reducing inflammation. If you look after your heart, it will look after you. Omega-3 acids are also essential for your organs and cells to work properly.

Fish Is A Brilliant Source of Vitamin D

If you’re really focusing on getting into shape and want to be in the gym as often as you can, make sure you’re eating fish to make sure your body is getting enough Vitamin D. This is important for keeping your bones healthy and strong, as well as keeping your body strong during long resistance training sessions. Being in the gym is important, but resting your body is too, or you won’t see results. Vitamin D aids sleep which will help your body to rest and repair after working out, and to keep your body as healthy as it can be.

Fish Speeds Up Your Metabolism

As you may know, having a high metabolism helps break down your food even faster when working out, helping with weight loss. Like mentioned, fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have a positive effect on your metabolism, helping you get closer to your weight loss goal.

Fish Is A Great Source of Vitamin B12

Your body needs vitamin B12 to function at its best. It is a nutrient that helps the blood cells and the nervous system stay healthy and create DNA. Vitamin B12 also aids in the prevention of anaemia, helping your body not feel so weak and tired, and overall assisting your fitness plans.

Fish Helps Injury Recovery

Even though the gym and being sporty in your life style can really help your body, it can also be dangerous through accidents and if your body gets hurt. Again, omega-3 fatty acids in fish are brilliant for aiding muscle regeneration, and vitamin D in fish aids with recovery also.

So, as you can probably understand, fish is a superfood in the fitness world. Eaten in proportion, it can really do the world of good for your health, and help you on your fitness journey. To group together as many of these points as we can, and to recommend which fish are best to introduce into your healthy diet, we looked at the fish available at a local fishmonger, Parkers of Stafford. Parkers stocks high quality fish and game, and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable, if you wanted to gain some more information. You can find out more at: https://www.facebook.com/parkersofstafford

Source of Vitamin B12 – Salmon and Trout

Source of Calcium to Aid Healthy Bones - Sardines

By having 2 servings a week, these fish can reduce the risk of heart disease by 36% - Herring, Mackerel, and Anchovies

Hopefully you’re able to add fish to your shopping list and get your healthy eating on the right track.

New Years Motivation Guide

Getting back to a normal routine after the rush of the Christmas holidays can be difficult. After getting used to fun foods and fizzing drinks, it feels almost impossible to be able to start eating healthily. Getting the motivation isn’t the hard part, but keeping that motivation high is! It’s 2018, a new year, time for a new you. Here’s how to keep the motivation going until 2019, rather than just the second week in January...

Be Realistic

It’s easy to say you want to lose a certain amount of weight and eat healthily, but if you are going from no working out to wanting to be in the gym every day, your body won’t appreciate that. It can be simpler to set smaller goals along the way, so that by the end, you are in a place you are proud to be in. If you truly believe you can lose a lot of weight or build up tonnes of muscle, go for it, but try and be realistic towards your current situation to see more success.

Outline Your Plan

After choosing your resolution or goal, organise a plan or your routine so you know exactly how you are going to get there. Whether you plan on going to the gym three times a week and eating healthily, or choose to do a workout every morning at home and then food prep rather than eat out, by writing down your plan, it will make it so much easier to see what you have to do, when, and that you will be sure to see results at the end of it. If you don’t see results straight away, don’t worry, stick to what you have written and keep working hard.

Track Your Progress

It’s so inspiring to see your weight change or photos of your changing body over the weeks to really see the change occurring. Whether you use your phone, or write down your results on a piece of paper, checking this can motivate you to keep going and do even better. This also helps you to see how far you have come since setting your goal as well as how much more you have to go.

Use Imagery

It’s been proven that the brain retains visual imagery rather than text, so purchase some fitness magazines, scroll through workouts on Pinterest, or even make a motivating collage. The more you see these inspiring images, you will be more likely to get to the gym and get to your goal, no matter how big!

Make It Fun

Doing something you don’t enjoy can get boring quickly. Join a sports class, go to the gym with your friends, or find a certain workout you really enjoy. You will quickly stop aiming towards your goal if you let yourself be uninspired, so keep the energy high and stay happy. What you’re doing will get you to a place where you will be happy with yourself, so make the journey their a happy one too!

Talk About It

Keep your goal in mind and talk to others about it. They may have similar goals or be able to give you some tips to be able to work harder or keep you inspired, even when it gets tough. Talking about your goals also makes the idea seem real, rather than just a concept in your head. Talk about it, inspire others as well as yourself, and keep aiming for what you want to achieve.

Make It Part of Your Daily Routine

After going back to work and sorting out the rest of your routine, why not squeeze a few workouts in their too? By having the gym part of your weekly or even daily routine, it becomes normal to do it as often as you do, helps your body adjust, and makes it easier for you to get on track.

Reward Yourself

Don’t drain yourself completely! Make sure to treat yourself (and take care of your body) by having a day off, or eating unhealthily one night. By rewarding your hard work, it makes what you are doing worth it even more, and motivates you to keep going to get your goal.

Join Forces With Family Members or Friends

It can be difficult at times to motivate yourself, so why not find some friends who have similar goals and try and complete them together! It can be inspiring to see people you know getting to where they want to be, and by having someone else there, it will motivate you to work harder and see better results.

Don't Quit After One Mistake

We all know how hard it is to get back on track after making a mistake or two, but don’t let this stop you completely. You have already worked so hard to be where you are at, continue to work hard. We are all human, none of us are perfect. If something happens, take a day or two to re-motivate yourself, and then get back on it. Believe in yourself!

I think the best advice I have is to think of why you chose that resolution in the first place, and the idea behind it will spark up the motivation in you, and fuel you for the year to get to a place where you feel confident and happy. Hopefully these tips help you achieve your new years resolution, or any goals that you want to aim towards, fitness related or otherwise.

We want to wish you a happy and healthy 2018!

A healthy guide to surviving Christmas!

We are now fully into the Christmas season. The shops are stocked with rolls of wrapping paper, you can’t escape the cheesy music, and I am patiently waiting for the Doctor Who Christmas Special. One thing however that worries me about this time of year is the food. You can’t go anywhere without seeing: build your own gingerbread house kits, mince pies, selection boxes, fancy cheeses, and chocolate Christmas tree decorations. I want to continue my healthy eating, but it is all so tempting.

It’s Christmas, of course I am going to treat myself, but I have come up with a few hacks and rules to keep me on track, and so I don’t end up looking like a Christmas Pudding!

Plan ahead

That text...

November and December can be hectic if you allow them to be, and it’s sometimes easier (and cheaper!) to buy a selection box, rather than a salad. By making a food plan at the beginning of each week, you can organise what you need to buy (saving food and money in the long run), and even meal prep for the week so you don’t have to worry about making a sandwich with whatever is in the fridge 2 minutes before you have to leave.

Make sure you also plan for overeating later in the day and calories been consumed in drinks in the evening. Consider intermittent fasting and pushing back your “break-fast” to early or mid afternoon. This allows you to indulge with your friends and socialise later in the afternoon and evening. Even if you have nothing planned for the evening be prepared for something to pop up. Things ALWAYS pop up over the holidays. Be sure you fill yourself up with healthy food before you do meet Dave in The Swan though as you will probably end up in Slices ordering a large pizza later in the night if you don’t.

Adapt your workouts

Be prepared to be unconventional

Sticking to your current and normal workout routine is going to be close to an impossible task so be prepared to made adaptations. If you can't make it to the gym for whatever reason don’t write off the day, simply change it up and do some exercise at home. Again this comes down to planning. Plan an emergency home workout that you know you can do at home. Make it short and sweet so things like our “Jemma's HIIT workout”, which can be done anywhere are perfect. If you have some heavy objects lying around try supersetting the main lifts that you do in the gym to create a short but intense workout you can get done and feel better about the rest of the day.

Don't slip into the "all-in" mentality

STOP!

Many of us fall victim to this. Eating a block of chocolate, eating a bit more then deciding that because you’ve already eaten half of it it’s going to be a bad day so you may as well finish it. This mentality is very dangerous! You will often then over indulge on other things which you will later regret. Just because you’ve eaten too much chocolate already doesn’t mean you should finish the rest. Just stop! Think about why you’re eating it. Is it due to hunger? Then eat something with some more nutritional value. Bored? Get up and do something to take your mind off it. Staying hydrated is both great for your body but also your mind making you feel less hungry.

Don't stock up

Stay strong in the supermarket!

Easier said than done but being vigilant in the supermarket can make things a lot easier for you when you’re at home. Write your shopping list before you go shopping and then don’t be distracted by the Christmas music and aisles of chocolate and luxury cheeses. If you buy these thinking you ‘may’ use them for when guests come round then you’re making things much harder for yourself throughout the holidays. Having these snacks around the house means that when you’re ‘hungry’(bored) you will start eating them. If they’re not there then you won’t crumble during your moment of weakness!

It's okay to treat yourself

Don't deprive

As mentioned it’s okay to indulge yourself over the holidays. That’s what they are for. It’s important not to deprive yourself because this will lead to breaking your routine and binge eating. You need to be healthy both mentally and physically. If you eat a cheeky mince pie then just make a mental note and then adjust your eating for the rest of the day accordingly.

Remember it’s Christmas! A time to see your family and friends, a time to be thankful, a time to treat your loved ones. Treat yourself, but surely you’re treating yourself more if you think before you eat!