5 Tips to Improve Motivation for the Gym

We all know how important it is to exercise, but somehow, showing up at the gym seems like such a feat. Finding excuses is always easy… from work, stress, the kids, and the fact that we feel too tired, everything is more important than exercise.

Luckily, to kick excuses to the curb all you need is a little motivation boost. But, finding motivation is easier said than done. For that reason, our team at Studio Pulse Wynnum has come up with the following super easy tips to help you boost motivation for the gym and your reformer pilates classes.

Top 5 Tips to Improve Motivation for the Gym

 

1. Exercise with a Friend who won’t Let you off the Hook

Working out with someone who will encourage you to keep up your exercising routine in times when you lack motivation is extremely useful… especially on hard days and when you feel too lazy to even contemplate it. Also, if you have a regular schedule to follow, you are highly likely to stick to it because hitting snooze or quitting will mean that you leave your partner on their own.

2. Put your Workout Goals in Writing

Almost everyone who goes to the gym has a goal to achieve, which is awesome. But writing your goals down is even better, especially if you put your goals somewhere like your phone screen saver. This way you can be reminded of your goal’s multiple times a day which gives your brain time to really take it in. Alternatively, you can also share your goals with family, friends and your trainers who you won’t want to disappoint. This way they can help you to stay accountable.

3. Reward yourself or Celebrate Milestones Achieved

Celebrating small successes along the way will help you stick to the workout routine. Sharing your successes with your loved ones or a friend can really make a difference in your motivation levels too. What’s more, achieving milestones means that you are closer to your goal so you deserve to reward yourself whether it is a new book, the jeans you’ve seen in the mall, or whatever you find enjoyable.

4. Think of a Workout as a Fun Activity

In general, people tend to consider exercise as just a way to improve their physical appearance. But, working out is so much more than that. The truth is, regular exercise will boost your mood and keep your heart, brain and body happy and healthy. Hence, perception is always key; think of it as you treating your body and mind. Working out to improve your physical appearance is fine too, but it often has more of a chore connotation attached to it.

5. Find Inspiration and a Little Friendly Competition

Finally, finding inspiration and friendly competition will also boost your motivation levels. As we said before, having a workout buddy will improve your motivation for the gym, but, it is even more effective if that person is a little fitter than you so you can find inspiration in them. Plus, one of the major motivation boosters is finding a little friendly competition. Trying to reach their fitness level will certainly boost your motivation.

Looking for a fun reformer pilates class to kickstart your fitness journey? Contact Studio Pulse Wynnum today, and get started… everyone starts somewhere, why not let it be at Studio Pulse Wynnum!

The benefits of Positive Affirmations on Body Image

Body positivity and love doesn’t come easy for everyone. But, luckily, body positivity can be learnt. In this article our team at Studio Pulse Wynnum outlines the benefits of positive affirmations on body image and manifesting feelings of appreciation and gratitude.

What Are Positive Affirmation?

Simply put, positive affirmations are positive phrases or statements used to reduce negative, unconscious thoughts about yourself. These statements are usually short, bold, and full of power. Practicing positive affirmations daily can help you improve motivation, encourage positive life changes, increase your self-esteem and confidence, and help you love your body. From a scientific standpoint, the brain responds best to repetitition. Repeating any phrase, practice, activity, thought process whether it be negative or positive means you are creating habits. So if you are repeating negative thought processes your brain is more likely to habitualise this. By repeating positive affirmations you are beginning to rewire the way your brain behaves.

Manifesting Feelings

Manifesting has become popular as of late, typically people tend to manifest certain outcomes and goals. By repititively imagining yourself reaching a goal, you are manifesting this as an outcome in your life. Not only can you manifest goals, but you can also manifest feelings. By thinking about feeling a certain way about yourself and your body, you can allow this feeling to enter your subconscious and become a default feeling whenever you look at yourself in the mirror or begin thinking about your body negatively. To successfully manifest this and have the best results on your subconscious, repition is key.

Benefits of Positive Affirmations

Daily affirmations can provide you with numerous benefits. According to studies, positive affirmations can help you:

  • get motivated to take action and achieve your goals
  • replace your negative thoughts with positive ones
  • reduce health-deteriorating stress
  • feel positive about yourself and boost self-esteem
  • improve your physical behavior
  • adopt an optimistic mindset
  • respond less defensive to ‘threatening’ messages, like interventions
  • follow a more healthy diet full of fruits and veggies
  • be more successful at work or in your studies

The following are the top four benefits of positive affirmations on body image:

1. Increased Motivation

As we already mentioned, practicing positive affirmation can help us boost motivation. And, when it comes to body image, this motivation might encourage you to start a workout plan and be more active.

For instance, you could try the reformer pilates classes at Studio Pulse Wynnum and repeat your affirmations to help you stick to the schedule and achieve your goals.

2. Better Quality of Life

Next, positive affirmations can help you improve your quality of life. This is because repeating positive self talk can make you more optimistic with a clearer perspective of your goals and what you want to achieve. Reciting daily affirmations will make you to be more focused on your objectives and persistent in meeting them.

3. Increased Confidence

As we already mentioned, positive affirmations on body image can help you accept yourself the way you are and stop comparing yourself to others.

4. Improved Relationships

Positive affirmations won’t just help you accept yourself, but other people too. By doing so, you’ll be able to cultivate and maintain better relationships. You attract what you put out into the universe, so if you are confident and happy in yourself you will attract likeminded people.

As a bonus, here’s a list of six powerful positive affirmations on body image you could start practicing:

  1. I am perfect and complete just the way I am.
  2. I feed my body healthy nourishing food and give it healthy nourishing exercise because it deserves to be taken care of.
  3. My body is a vessel for my awesomeness.
  4. I am loved and admired. I have amazing _____ (friends, family, support, work colleagues) and they love me for who I am so I am going to love me for who I am too.
  5. I will love myself the way that I hope my children love themselves.
  6. My body works to keep my heart beating and my blood pumping and I appreciate all that it does for me every single day.
  7. Body, if you can love me for who I am, I promise to love you for who you are.

One thing is clear, if you’re reading this article you want to improve your body image. So, call Studio Pulse today and ensure you get the best professional help!

The Relationship Between Exercise and Mental Health

Everyone knows how important exercise is for our physical health, however, many underestimate, or simply neglect, the importance of exercise for maintaining a healthy mental state.

For that reason, Studio Pulse Wynnum is here to help you understand the relationship between exercise and mental health.

Those who include exercise in their everyday life, like reformer pilates Wynnum for example, are at a lower risk of suffering from mental illness and report having better emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Surprising but true, research shows that exercise has almost the same effect as psychological treatments, including cognitive behavioral therapy, and antidepressants for those who have mild depression.

But, how does exercise affect us mentally?

The relationship between exercise and mental health can be quite easily explained. Exercise stimulates the production of chemicals in the brain responsible for improving mood. Plus, it pumps blood to the brain which improves your cognitive skills.

Additionally, exercise increases the part of the brain responsible for memory called the hippocampus and improves connections between the brain and nerve cells which helps to boost memory and protects your brain from diseases.

Simply put, exercise makes us feel better, and makes our body happy. Not only will exercise improve your mood, alertness, and concentration, it can also help to increase your motivation levels.

The following is a list of how exercise can positively impact you and your lifestyle:

  • Improves Sleep: a good night’s sleep regulates mood.
  • Exercise boosts self-esteem, coping abilities, and sense of control.
  • When exercising you forget about the negative things in your life and can allow you to gain new perspectives.
  • Exercise provides new opportunities to socialise and meet people.
  • Exercise changes the levels of serotonin, endorphins, and stress hormones in your brain.
  • Your energy levels increase while exercising.
  • Exercise is a great form of stress and anger release.
  • Exercise makes you feel relaxed by decreasing muscle tension.

How Much Exercise do we Need?

Luckily, to give your mental health a boost, you don’t really have to spend hours in the gym or jump straight into strenuous exercise. According to the Australian Government, around 3 hours of moderate exercise or 2 hours of strenuous exercise per week is what we should aim for. Even if that includes 1 moderate bike ride, 1 reformer pilates class and 1 brisk walk per week… that is more than enough! Especially as a starting point.

Pulse offers a fresh and unique opportunity for those embarking on a quest for greater physical, mental, or spiritual fulfillment.

So, all you need to do to ensure you keep both physically and mentally healthy is to contact Studio Pulse Wynnum and get in touch with the team to find out what class would best suit your needs.

5 Tricks to Boost your Energy Levels

Due to the busy lives many of us lead, lots of people report feeling tired and drained on a regular basis. Often, this fatigue is a result of lifestyle choices, in which case you can try a variety of things to improve this.

That’s why Studio Pulse Wynnum – the ultimate pilates and reformer pilates expert in Queensland, has come up with the following list of tricks you can try to give your energy levels a boost.

So, read on to find out how to say ‘goodbye’ to fatigue and increase energy levels naturally:

Get Enough Sleep

First and foremost, sleep deprivation is one of the most common side effects of a busy lifestyle. People are constantly trying to keep work, family, and social life on track which is often easier to do with a little less sleep. However, this lack of sleep results in tiredness and feeling drained. Something that people underestimate is how exercise can improve your sleep. Even just a 30-minute session of reformer pilates for instance will help you to get a good night’s sleep.

Reduce Stress

Another efficient way to boost your energy levels is by reducing stress levels. Again, people with busy lifestyles often go through periods of feeling anxious and overworked. So, if you’ve been experiencing episodes of low concentration, racing thoughts, and breathing difficulties, you may be experiencing stress, which can not only affect your mind but your physical health too.

So, in order to improve your energy levels, trying to avoid stress can help – easier said than done we know. However, one of the most popular stress-relieving activities is exercise. Luckily, at Studio Pulse, we offer a great range classes to suit your needs and time-constraints.

Be Active

Without a shadow of a doubt, we are all aware of how regular exercise is important for our physical health. But, being active is actually as equally important for our mental health – especially if you lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle. You may be thinking, I’m not fit enough yet to take up any intense exercise activities, however, low-intensity workouts will do just fine. Indeed, all you need to do is contact our team and find out which class best suits your needs and fitness levels.

Stay Hydrated

You probably already know that our bodies are made of 55 – 75% water, depending on your age. So it’s no surprise that hydration plays an important role in brain function, mood, and energy. Also, since we lose water via sweat and urine daily, we must make up for this loss and drink enough water to stay hydrated. Otherwise, if our body is dehydrated our energy levels will immediately drop and make us feel drained. So, make sure to drink enough water throughout the day, not only when you’re in your reformer pilates class and exercising but throughout the day as well.

Socialise

Last but not least, being social is crucial for maintaining a good mood and balanced mental health. On the other hand, if you are socially isolated you are at a higher risk of suffering from low mood. In order to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, join up to Studio Pulse Wynnum to stay social, active and maintain healthy sleeping habits.

 

Comparison will Kill You

Regardless of how much we achieve in our life, it’s almost too easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. After all, we’re only human. In some cases, comparison can be be useful as a form of inspiration. However, we suggest you only compare yourself to a prior version of yourself. For example, if this time last year you were more motivated, or perhaps visiting your loved ones more, or a lot fitter than you are today, that should be your motivation to do better.

So, if fitness or health is a concern of yours, Studio Pulse Wynnum offers classes to cater to all levels of fitness. Contact us today to chat about your fitness goals.

Let’s explore why it is that we compare ourself to others:

Why do We Compare Ourselves to Others?

Namely, we compare ourselves to others for many different human reasons, but surprisingly not because comparison makes us feel happier, smarter, or more productive. It is both a human reaction and emotion which we can’t control. However, we can control what we do with it… whether we choose to let the emotions control us or whether we decide to control them.

Not to mention, the world we live in makes it extremely easy to fall into the trap. Just look around you: the billboards, newsfeeds, TV screens, social media – they are all full of ‘twisted’ conventional norms that are designed in such a way to make us feel we have to change and fit. After all, if we didn’t feel like we had to change, we wouldn’t purchase the products they are dangling in front of us. It’s no wonder we feel like we aren’t enough. But, remember – we are more than good enough just the way we are!

Comparison Shortcomings

As aforementioned, comparing ourselves to other people has many shortcomings including the following:

  • An unfair game – comparisons aren’t fair because we tend to compare our weaknesses to other’s strengths.
  • Takes a lot of valuable time – we should spend that time on something that makes us happy and fulfilled instead of comparing ourselves to other people.
  • Uniqueness cannot be compared – we are all different and unique individuals, therefore comparison isn’t logical at all.
  • No benefits gained – when comparing to others we don’t gain anything, we just lose time, joy, energy, and motivation.
  • It’s an everlasting game – there will always be someone else to compare to or some other feature to focus on.
  • It results in resentment – not only do we gain nothin from it, comparison actually results in resentment both towards others and ourselves.

Simple Tips to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Now that you know that there aren’t any positives to comparison, let’s have a look at some simple ways to stop indulging in our weaknesses:

  • Do a social media detox – being bombarded with people living ‘perfect lives’ on social media won’t help, so take control and have a detox… you won’t regret it!
  • Be thankful for what you already have – if you constantly focus on what you don’t have, you will never be satisfied. Instead, be grateful for what you have, especially for your family and friends.
  • Accept imperfection – realizing that no one is perfect (even though it may seem so on social media) is the first step towards loving yourself including strengths and weaknesses and successes and shortcomings.
  • Regular Exercise – Exercise has a range of benefits, one of them being clearer outlook on life, and increased motivation levels.. just what you need to focus on yourself and not others! Just a couple of reformer pilates classes per week will do wonders!

 

Our team at Pulse hope you found this article helpful. And, if you want to focus your energy on something beneficial instead of comparing yourself to others, like reformer pilates, or yoga classes, contact Studio Pulse Wynnum today!

How to Love Your Body (regardless of your size)

The truth is, body confidence has nothing to do with your size, the numbers on the scale, body fat percentage, BMI, or waist circumference. It is how you feel in your own skin and ultimately loving your body regardless of its size. Sounds easy right? Well, not exactly. Loving your body is a difficult task for many of us and can take years and years of knowledge and learning experiences to truly achieve.

At Studio Pulse Wynnum – Wynnum’s newest Reformer Pilates Studio – we offer a friendly community with top quality instructors and classes which cater to all levels of fitness.

1. Be Grateful for what your Body does for You

First and foremost, it’s important to recognise that your body does some pretty amazing things on a daily basis: getting out of bed in the morning, breathing air into your lungs, tasting amazing flavours, talking, walking, eating. All of that and much more thanks to the 60 trillion cells that make up a complete whole – your body. Your body, regardless of its size, gives you the chance to experience life.

2. It’s about how you Feel, not how you Look

You are going to feel better if you are following a healthy lifestyle, but it’s about how you feel within yourself rather than how you look in the mirror. Namely, there’s no universal body size that we can all strive to reach. We are all made differently. So, while it might be easy for certain people to stay really thin, it may be a lot harder for you to reach the same size because you have different genes. When we follow a relatively healthy diet, exercise regularly, get lots of sleep and drink plenty of water, naturally we are going to feel better (and probably look better too). But it is crucial that you concentrate on how you feel, rather than how you look. So, ask yourself the below questions:

  • Do I have lots of energy during the day?
  • Do I sleep well?
  • Am I lethargic?
  • Am I passing stools regularly?
  • Is my urine clear?
  • Am I eating 5 veg and 2 fruit each day?
  • Do I have unhealthy cravings?
  • Is my skin clear?
  • Do I get sick a lot? Do I suffer from headaches or any other ongoing health issues?

3. Exercise for Fun rather than to Simply Lose Weight

Last but not least, when it comes to exercise, it’s vital to think of it from a different perspective. Exercising shouldn’t be a chore, nor should you dread it. And, if the exercise you are doing makes you feel this way, find something that you prefer! There’s a lot of different types of exercise, so shop around until you find something that you enjoy. Additionally, rather than focusing on the weight benefits of exercise, focus on some of the other benefits: decreased risk of heart issues, decreased risk of cancer, decreased risk of diabetes, increased energy levels, reduced stress-levels, healthier organs, decreased circulation of toxins in the body and of course the list goes on! Exercise isn’t just a weight loss and body-shaping tool, it is actually a great way to love and accept your body, regardless of its size.

The bottom line is that we are all built completely differently, and what works for someone else, might not work for you. Remember to keep things in perspective, avoid comparison, practice positive self-talk and embrace you in all that you are because (corny we know), there is indeed, only one you. Of course, you can always strive for better and you should, it’s a healthy mantra to live by, which we support wholeheartedly. However, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and above all else, enjoy the journey. At the end of the day it’s not all about the destination, it’s about the hurdles, the set-backs and how you got back up after being pushed down.

To join our reformer pilates class, don’t hesitate and contact us today!

Nutrition for sport and exercise

 

Hi Pulse Nation,

Below is an excellent article by the British Nutrition Foundation about the importance of a healthy diet to get the most out of a exersize regime:

 

We should all aim to eat a healthy, varied diet based on the principles of the Eatwell Guide, which matches our energy needs. This advice still applies when taking part in regular physical activity, such as going to the gym, swimming, running, cycling or team sports.

Following healthy eating guidelines alone can support an active lifestyle. However when exercising, your body will use up more energy. Unless you are trying to lose weight you may find that you need to eat more food to give your body the extra energy it needs.

Eating well for physical activity and sport can have many benefits including:

  • Allowing you to perform well in your chosen sport or activity;
  • Reducing the risk of injury and illness;
  • Ensuring the best recovery after exercise or a training programme.

A healthy diet for sport and exercise should contain plenty of starchy foods, plenty of fruit and vegetables, some protein foods and some dairy foods. It is also important to stay hydrated.

In this section, we will cover:

 

Foods for fuel and exercise

Carbohydrates

The main role of carbohydrates is to provide energy.

When they are digested, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose to provide readily available energy for the body to use quickly and effectively. Carbohydrates are the most important form of fuel for exercise and sports activities. The body can store carbohydrates in the muscles and liver as glycogen, and use these stores as a source of fuel for the brain and muscles during physical activity. These glycogen stores are limited, so it is important to be fully fuelled at the start of any exercise.  By not having adequate carbohydrate in your diet for exercise, you may feel tired and lacking in energy and not be able to perform at your best. So, regular intake of carbohydrate-rich foods is important to keep stores topped up. The correct food choices can help ensure the body has enough energy for activity, as well as help aid recovery.

Starchy foods are an important source of carbohydrates in our diet. Wholegrain varieties also provide fibre, which is important for digestive health, and a range of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, iron, calcium and folate.

Good sources of carbohydrates in the diet include:

  • Bread
  • Breakfast cereals and porridge oats
  • Pasta, noodles
  • Rice
  • Couscous
  • Potatoes (with skins) and other starchy vegetables (e.g. sweetcorn)
  • Beans and pulses

Starchy foods should make up around a third of the food we eat. Fruit and milk contain carbohydrates in the form of sugars and can help to provide the body with a quick source of energy. They also contain many additional vitamins and minerals that help to keep us healthy. Starchy foods, especially high fibre varieties provide a slower release of energy and take longer to digest, so it’s a good idea to include some in every meal.

Food and drinks that contain high amounts of free sugars, such as sweets, biscuits, cakes and sugars-sweetened soft drinks, should generally be limited as they can lead to excessive calorie intakes which may cause weight gain. Frequent high intake of free sugars can also increase the risk of tooth decay particularly in those with poor dental hygiene. 100% fruit juices also contain free sugars, so limiting intake to a small 150ml glass a day is recommended.

Competitive sports people and athletes may require more carbohydrates than an average gym user to match the intensity of their activity level.  Estimated carbohydrate needs are outlined and depend on the intensity and duration of the exercise sessions:

Duration of sport or exercise sessionsRecommended intake (per kg body weight per day)*
3-5 hours per week4-5g
5-7 hours per week5-6g
1-2 hours per day6-8g
2 + hours per day8-10g

*These requirements are general and consideration of energy needs and type of exercise should be considered.

Try not to meet your requirements by packing your entire carbohydrate intake into one meal. Spread out your intake over breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that fit around planned exercise.

The table below shows the carbohydrate content of some common foods:

Food sourceServing sizeCarbohydrate content (g) per serving size
Pasta (boiled)Medium (230g)76
CouscousAverage (150g)56
Rice, wholegrain (boiled)Medium (180g)53
Jacket potato with skin (baked)Large (220g)50
Wholemeal bread2 thick slices (88g)37
Sweet potato, boiled2 medium (130g)27
Banana1 large (120g)24
Porridge, made with low fat milkMedium (160g)19
Crumpet, toasted1 crumpet (40g)18
Oatcakes2 oatcakes (26g)16
SweetcornAverage (80g)11

 

Protein

Protein is also important for health and physical activity. The main role of protein in the body is for growth, repair and maintenance of body cells and tissues, such as muscle.

Different foods contain different amounts and different combinations of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Essential amino acids are those that the body cannot make itself and so are needed from the diet. The full range of essential amino acids needed by the body (high protein quality) is found in:

  • Animal sources – meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt.
  • Plant sources – soy, tofu, quinoa and mycoprotein e.g. Quorn™.

As some high protein foods can also be high in saturated fat, it is important to choose lower fat options, such as lean meats or lower fat versions of dairy foods.

Most vegans get enough protein from their diets, but it is important to consume a variety of plant proteins to ensure enough essential amino acids are included. More information on vegetarian and vegan diets is available here.

The protein requirements of a normal adult are 0.75g per kilogram of body weight per day. For strength and endurance athletes, protein requirements are increased to around 1.2-1.7g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day.  If you are participating in regular sport and exercise like swimming/running or go to the gym on a regular basis, then your protein requirements may be slightly higher than the general sedentary population, in order to promote muscle tissue growth and repair.  However, most people in the UK consume more than the recommended amount of protein, so increasing your protein intake is generally unnecessary.

Consuming a healthy, varied diet containing nutrient dense foods will ensure you get enough protein without the use of protein supplements or special high-protein eating strategies, even if your needs are a little higher!  But try and spread your protein intake throughout the day.

Do I need extra protein to build muscle?

It is a common myth that consuming lots of extra protein gives people bigger muscles. Quite often, people taking part in exercise focus on eating lots of protein, and consequently may not get enough carbohydrate, which is the most important source of energy for exercise. A modest 20g of high quality protein, equivalent to approximately half of a medium sized grilled chicken breast or a small can of tuna, has been shown to be enough for optimum muscle protein synthesis following any exercise or training session. Any more protein than this will not be used for muscle building and just used as energy!

As well as including protein as part of a healthy, balanced diet, the incorporation of some protein after exercise is important for building new muscle tissues and repairing the damaged ones. See the section putting nutrition into practice for ideas of how this can be done.

The table below shows the protein content of some common foods:

Food sourceServing sizeProtein content (g) per serving size
Chicken breast grilledMedium (130g)42
Salmon fillet grilledLarge (170g)42
Rump steak grilled115g (5oz)36
Tuna canned in brineSmall can (100g)25
Baked beans1 can (415g)22
Almonds100g21
Haddock grilledMedium (85g)20
Eggs2 average size eggs (100g)13
Lentil soup1 can (400g)12
Half fat cheddar cheese4 tbsp grated (40g)11
Low fat milk300ml10
Greek style plain yogurtSmall pot (120g)7
Low fat fruit yogurtSmall pot (120g)7

 

 

Fat

Fat is an essential nutrient for the body, but it is also a rich source of energy. Consuming too much fat can lead to excess energy intake which can lead to weight gain over time. It is important to follow current healthy eating guidelines, ensuring fat intakes are no more than 35% of total energy intake from food, with saturated fat intakes not exceeding 11% of total energy intake from food. Fats in foods typically contain a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, but choosing foods which contain higher amounts of unsaturated fat, and less saturated fat, is preferable. Most of us eat too much saturated fat so to cut back on intakes, limit foods such as:

  • Pastries, cakes, puddings
  • Chocolate and biscuits
  • Some savoury snacks
  • Cream, coconut cream and ice-cream
  • Hard cheeses including cheddar
  • Butter, lard, ghee, suet, palm oil and coconut oil
  • Processed meats like sausages, ham, burgers and fatty cuts of meat
  • Fried foods including fried chips

Choose low fat options and foods containing unsaturated fat where possible. Replacing saturated fat with some monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Good sources of these fats include vegetable oils such as olive, rapeseed and sunflower oils, avocados, nuts and seeds. Polyunsaturated fats provide us with essential fatty acids like omega 3 which are found in sunflower, flaxseed and linseed oil and walnuts, but it is the long chain omega 3 fatty acids which are associated with heart health and these are found in oily fish (e.g. mackerel, salmon and sardines). Click here to see more on fats.

Tips for making simple swaps to cut down on saturated fat:

Foods containing a high proportion of saturated fatty acidsSwap for…
Butter, lard, ghee

 

Palm oil and coconut oil

Smaller amounts of oil containing unsaturated fats:

  • Rapeseed, olive, sunflower oil and spreads

Tips:

  • When using oils, try to measure out in a teaspoon or use a spray version to control your use
Processed and fatty cuts of meat
  • Lean meats

Tips:

  • Cut any visible fat off.
  • Choose skinless chicken or turkey (or remove the skin).
Whole milk, condensed milk or full-fat creams
  • Semi-skimmed, skimmed or 1% fat milk
  • Low fat creams
Cheeses that are high in fat, (e.g. cheddar)
  • Cottage cheese, ricotta and extra-light soft cheese

Tips:

  • Try to have smaller portions of cheese
  • Grate cheese to use in salads, sandwiches and fillings, so that less is used
Salad dressings
  • Making your own from scratch – try mixing lemon juice/vinegar, herbs and spices, with a small amount of olive oil or even low fat natural yogurt
Other tips to help cut down on saturated fat…

 

Cooking – frying, deep frying, roastingTry boiling, poaching, steaming, baking or grilling and add a minimal amount of fat.
ShoppingTake time when food shopping and read food labels carefully to help you choose foods that are lower in saturates.

 

 

How to stay well hydrated

Sufficient fluid intake is essential for exercise and optimum recovery. Exercising causes the body to get warmer, so the body tries to cool down by sweating. This causes the loss of water and salts through the skin.

The amount an individual sweats varies from person to person and depends on:

  • Intensity and duration – longer and higher intensity exercise can cause greater sweat loss.
  • Environmental temperature – in hot, humid conditions sweat loss can increase.
  • Clothing – the more clothing that is worn, the quicker you are likely to heat up which may cause greater sweat loss.
  • Genetics – some people are just more likely to sweat than others.

Generally, the more a person sweats, the more they will need to drink.

Small water losses are not harmful. However, dehydration (water loss in excess of 2-3% body mass) can cause tiredness and hinder performance by reducing strength and aerobic capacity (especially in longer duration exercise), as well as having a negative effect on any further exercise sessions.  So, try and stay hydrated before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration – water is generally best, but in cases of high-intensity exercise and excessive sweating, an isotonic drink may be better (see later section that covers other drinks).

For more information on healthy hydration click here

 

Putting nutrition into practice

The timing of eating and exercising can be important for how you feel and perform during your chosen activity. The body needs the correct fuel in the tank to perform well, however you want to avoid feeling too full or too empty during exercise.

Individuals vary in their preferred timing of food intake and amount that can be eaten before exercise. Some may find two hours is plenty of time to digest their meal, whereas others may feel uncomfortable when taking part in activity and need a bit longer. Experimenting with what, how much and when will help decide what suits you best!

Before:

  • Ideally, your pre-exercise meal should be low in fat and contain a portion of starchy foods, such as porridge, pasta or potatoes, and should be around 2-3 hours before exercising. For exampleif you have an exercise class at 5pm, have your pre-exercise meal at around 2pm.
  • However, if you leave eating before exercise any longer or don’t eat anything at all, you may lack energy and risk feeling light headed during exercise.
  • You could eat a small snack between your pre-exercise meal and exercise to top up energy levels. If you do, it is best to wait 30-60 minutes before taking part in any vigorous sports or exercise.
  • Making sure you are well hydrated before you start an exercise session is important, so try to drink regularly throughout the day and with your pre-exercise meal.

 

 

During:

  • Consuming some carbohydrates during exercise can enhance performance but this generally only applies to individuals participating in endurance or high intensity sports that last over 60 minutes, as this is when carbohydrate stores may substantially decrease (e.g. marathon/long distance running, football games or competitive swimming events).
  • It is important to consume plenty of fluids during exercise, especially if you are sweating heavily (also to replace electrolytes lost from sweating) and/or the environmental temperature is high.
  • Try to sip small amounts of fluids whenever possible during exercise to stay hydrated. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty, as this is a sign that you are already partly dehydrated. Keep sipping water before and during the activity, if possible, to keep hydration levels topped up.

 

After:

Food and fluid intake is also important for optimum recovery after exercise.

  • After a long run or exercise class, your carbohydrate stores will be lower, so it is important to replenish them, especially if you are doing more exercise later on that day or the following day.
  • The post-exercise meal should be based on starchy foods (preferably wholegrain) and include some high quality, lean protein. Consuming this as soon as possible after exercise will be most beneficial for recovery, restoring glycogen levels and muscle protein.
  • If you are unable to have a meal soon after exercise, try to have a small snack that contains carbohydrate and protein, such as a banana and a glass of low fat milk, within the first 30-60 minutes following exercise to begin the recovery process, especially if you have exercise within the next eight hours.
  • Don’t forget your meals should always be balanced so make sure you include fruit and vegetables to provide other important nutrients.
  • To replace the fluid lost from sweating, it is vital to restore hydration levels as part of recovery, so remember to drink plenty of fluids after exercising. See common sports nutrition questions section for the benefit of other drinks, such as milk, for recovery.

 

 

Tips to plan your meals and snacks:
  • Preparation – your pre-exercise meal, whether it is breakfast or lunch, should be around 2-3 hours before and include a good amount of starchy foods to ensure you have enough fuel in the tank. A small snack 30-60 minutes before exercise can help to top up energy levels.
  • Recovery – base your post-exercise meal on starchy foods and include some high quality, lean protein to help restore glycogen levels and muscle protein.
  • Both meals should also include some fruit and vegetables.
  • Good snacks for immediately after exercise should contain some protein, such as unsalted nuts or a glass of milk.
  • Try to opt for wholegrain carbohydrates and high quality protein foods, as well as nutrient-rich snacks.

 

Ideas for meals and snacks

Below are some examples of suitable meals and snacks for an individual who exercises.

Breakfast

 

LunchDinnerSnacks
Porridge with low fat milk and fruitBaked potato (skin on) with tuna, and salad (use low fat mayonnaise)Wholemeal pasta with grilled chicken and vegetables in a tomato based sauceFruit

Vegetables sticks with houmous

Low fat fruit yogurt

Malt loaf

Reduced salt/sugar baked beans on wholemeal toast

Guacamole, ½ wholemeal pitta

Rye crispbread with low fat cheese and grapes

Unsalted nuts or seeds

Low fat milk

Fruit smoothie (made with low fat milk and banana)

Oatcakes with peanut butter

Muesli (no added sugar) or wholegrain cereal, with low fat milk and fresh or dried fruitEggs (boiled, poached, scrambled, omelette) on wholemeal toast with vegetablesChilli con carne – lean mince, kidney beans, chopped tomatoes and brown rice
Wholegrain or granary toast with peanut or other nut butter and 100% fruit juice (150ml)Chicken and salad sandwich, using wholemeal bread or wrapSalmon with boiled new potatoes (skins on) and vegetables
2 thick slices of wholemeal toast with scrambled egg, a grilled tomatoLentil and vegetable soup with whole wheat rollStir fry – whole wheat noodles, lean meat (chicken, turkey or beef), tofu or prawns and vegetables.
Low fat greek or plain yogurt with banana, berries, seeds and cereal (e.g. oats)Couscous or quinoa salad with chicken, roasted vegetables and kaleFish pie (potato topping) with green vegetables

 

 

Common sports nutrition questions

 

Do I need to take protein shakes and supplements?

  • Among recreational gym-goers, protein supplementation has become increasingly popular for muscle building, but is generally unnecessary.
  • For most active people the body’s protein needs can be easily achieved from a healthy, varied diet, with good choices of high quality, lean protein foods being incorporated into meals and snacks.
  • After competition sports or an intense training session, high quality protein powders can be a more convenient and transportable recovery method when there is limited access to food, and may be effective for maintenance, growth and repair of muscle.
  • However, unlike protein supplements, high protein foods will typically also contain essential vitamins and minerals.
  • A whey protein shake contains around 20g of protein – 20g of protein equates to half a chicken breast or a small can of tuna.
  • Taking protein far in excess of requirements through high intake of protein supplements may cause long term health risks (e.g. may increase the risk of poorer bone health and osteoporosis or accelerate any existing kidney problems).

 

When exercising, should I drink anything other than water?

In most cases, for exercise and activities up to one hour, water is sufficient for hydration. For exercise that is longer and more intense, other types of drinks may be considered.

  • Sports drinks: Isotonic sports drinks contain carbohydrates in the form of glucose, as well as electrolytes such as sodium. The electrolyte sodium will replace any lost from sweating and enhance rehydration, and glucose will replenish carbohydrate stores. Sports drinks have been shown to help endurance performance for active individuals performing endurance exercise (e.g. participating in a marathon). However, remember that sports drinks are similar to other soft drinks that contain sugars. This means that they can be high in calories and contribute to tooth decay, so they are only suitable if taking part in high-level endurance sports or if sweat loss is high.

Sports drinks can be expensive compared to other drinks; however it is easy to make them yourself! To make your own isotonic sports drink, mix: 200ml fruit squash, 800ml water and a pinch of salt.

  • Milk: Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk has been shown as an excellent post-exercise recovery drink. It naturally contains vitamins and minerals that can replace those lost via sweating and enhance rehydration (sodium), as well as assisting in muscle function and bone health (potassium and calcium). It also naturally contains high quality protein and some carbohydrates, and is relatively cheap to buy.
  • Energy drinks: Many people think sports drinks and energy drinks are the same, but it is important to note that they are very different. Energy drinks typically contain high levels of caffeine and sugars. They are not designed to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat and may contain other ingredients with stimulant properties. If consumed in excess, energy drinks can lead to severe health problems such as heart problems (cardiac rhythmic disturbances) and caffeine intoxication. As some are high in sugars, they can increase the risk of tooth decay especially in those with poor dental hygiene and could encourage high calorie intakes, which may cause weight gain. Energy drinks should not be consumed in place of sports drinks during exercise.

 

Should I take vitamin or mineral supplements?

  • Consumption of a healthy, varied, nutrient-rich diet, which contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, starchy foods, some lean protein foods and some low fat dairy foods, should provide all the vitamins and minerals that most physically active individuals require.
  • There is little evidence to suggest that vitamin and mineral supplements, if you are consuming a healthy, balanced diet, can improve performance.
  • Similarly, poor food choices cannot be compensated for by taking supplements. Supplements can be expensive and in very high doses can actually be harmful.
  • However, supplements may be necessary for certain population groups. For example, vitamin D is mostly obtained through action of sunlight on our skin in the summer months, and there are few rich food sources, so some at risk groups such as children under five years, pregnant and breastfeeding women and adults over the age of 65 are recommended to take a supplement.
  • Always consult your GP or a dietitian if you are concerned about a nutrient deficiency.

The Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle

Good consistent health takes effort and time to slowly build and sustain. Healthy living cannot be attained by eating nutritiously once and hitting the gym once in a blue moon unless you are blessed with a top-notch metabolism and great genes.

How to Have a Healthy Lifestyle?

For most of us, it is not easy to attain a healthy physical and mental state. People who strive to have stellar health need to work on it every single day. This includes being mindful of all that you put in your body and the way you use your body.

Here are the ways by which you can slowly but sustainably build healthy living:

1. Fluids:

It all begins with plenty of fluids. More often than not, the problems related to your physical discomforts like headaches and nausea can be attached with a dehydrated body. Not to mention, the health of your skin, organs and general health lies on how much water you drink. So, make sure to consume lots of fluids and if you’re not a big water lover (even though we suggest you try your best to be) such products like Hydralyte might be the perfect thing for you.

2. Diet:

The most important part of your health regime which can either make or break your health is the kind of diet you have. A balanced and nutritious diet that replenishes your body is very important. So, do your research as to what fits your bodily requirements and incorporate those foods. An added tip is to include super-foods into your diet.

3. Workout:

Nowadays, people realize the importance of working out and how it does more than just maintaining your physical appearance. We have a plethora of workouts to choose from like Pilates, power yoga, weight training and so forth. So invest in a little workout every 2nd or 3rd day and notice not only a physical change, but an internal and mental change as well; the perfect balanced lifestyle.

Why Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

There will always be those people who can debate the real importance of healthy living. So, let us tell you exactly what you gain from keeping yourself healthy and fit.

1. Better Skin, Better Hair, Better Body:

Eating nutritiously and quenching your bodily thirst will not have instantaneous effects. But in time you will notice that you have glowing skin, thicker hair, and a leaner body. This is no secret to anyone. It may take longer for some but you will definitely have a fit body if your core is nourished.

2. Mental Stress:

Everyone has experienced stress at one point in their life, some people probably do on a regular basis, a lot more than others. One of the ways to curb this stress is to work out and hit the gym or any health club regularly. As you workout, your body releases hormones like endorphins which make you less stressed and happier.

3. Satisfaction and the Ripple Effect:

The satisfaction you get from seeing your body radiate is a motivator which will have a ripple effect. In the book “Power of Habit”, the author has illustrated that one healthy habit has a ripple effect in transforming your life. Before you know it, you have an abundance of healthy habits in all the dimensions of your life.

Conclusion:

Leading a healthy lifestyle does not mean that you restrict yourself or put too much pressure on yourself to be happy and healthy, it is about feeling good from the inside out. So start making small changes today and do something the future you will appreciate.

5 Things You Need to Know Before Barre Class

Barre is all the rage these days and for good reasons as it promotes healthy living. Among other things, barre can play a key role in keeping one’s body in shape. Plus, it also plays a central role in boosting one’s stamina.

Are you planning to join a fitness club? Here is a checklist of the aspects that you need to know before going ahead with your decision.

1. Register Online for Your Class in Advance:

Reservations for Barre class open up at least three weeks before the actual day on which the classes begin. Depending on your preferences, you can book a spot for yourself in any studio you like to give a chance.

You may want to choose a spot which enables you to view your instructor properly so that you can follow their steps. Nine out of ten participants choose to go with the central position.

2. Wear the Right Attire:

In Barre class, the dressing sense may vary from one studio to the other. Make sure you have the right information about what you should wear at the time of signing up.

Consider wearing a body-hugging dress with the right pair of footwear. This will enable you to move easily in line with the movement mechanics of your body. For a better grip on the floors that are made of hardwood, you can pair footwear with sticky socks.

3. Know which Equipment You Should Use:

The essentials vary from studio to studio. Free weights, small exercise balls, and looped resistance band are some common equipment in most Barre classes.

If you do need weights in your class, experts suggest it is a good idea to go with both a lighter weight and a heavy weight so you can swap up and down with ease.

4. Interact with the Regular Attendees as much as Possible:

Barre attracts a bunch of people who are experts at workouts. Because they value the concept of healthy living, they visit the studios on a regular basis. If you are not sure how to go about it, you can reach out to such attendees for guidance and helpful tips.

5. Be Ready to Feel Tired from Head to Toe:

More often than not, you are more likely to reach the tipping point of your workout session in leading Barre such as Pulse Newstead. Initially, it may seem like a lot of hard work but you will be good to go with a little practice and patience. Your mental preparation will be key. Set your own goals and try to achieve them before calling it a day.

Also, if possible, try to make an arrangement to attend the classes in accordance with your convenience. Now that you know the basics of Barre class, you are good to go. So, go ahead and give it a try.

Your First Yoga Class – What You Need To Know

What best way would it be to put your health right on track than switching to yoga? One of the best, calm, and serene ways to walk your way to a healthy life is to try out Yoga and see if it’s for you. Enrolling yourself into the best yoga coaching class is easy to do when you spot the right yoga instructor.

Here are some key takeaways that you will need to consider prior to taking your first yoga class and you will get the entire inside information in detail:

1. Spot a Yoga Studio:

Finding a yoga studio is quite easy as you can find many of such by researching your area. Even a yoga studio recommendation from a friend would surely work out. To find the best studio in yoga Fortitude Valley, you will need to consider a few factors like whether a yoga studio is heated beyond 100 degrees, if the studio’s teaching approach is more spiritual than a physical activity, if the classes are scheduled based on modules & levels, and the last one being if the classes schedule is a perfect match for your desired time frame.

2. Purchase a Yoga Mat:

Few yoga studios offer yoga mats however buying one won’t drain your bank account. Do yourself a favour by investing in a decent yoga mat of high quality, which would not cost you much.

3. Decide on the Class:

Once you’ve decided on the yoga studio that you get enrolled in, you also need to check which class you would pick up. Choose the one that best suits your routine and schedule. This is a vital step as you will require to maintain consistency in time and keeps your progress on track. Since it will be your first yoga class, check for the classes which are labeled with basics, beginners, all levels, and gentle so that you know that you are geared up for the right direction.

4. Yoga Wear:

For yoga, choose a comfortable activewear that is not too loose as your body needs to be flexible for all the yoga sessions. An appropriate yoga outfit is yoga pants/tights paired with a tank top for women and waist shorts with a t-shirt for men. You don’t need sports shoes as yoga requires you to be barefooted throughout all the sessions.

5. Arrive Early:

Irrespective of the yoga class you decide upon, this health workout will do you much good if you make it a habit to arrive early prior to the commencement of the yoga class. Reaching the studio 15 minutes early will keep your body and mind at peace, allowing you to make the most out of every yoga session. Arriving early allows you to set up your mat and your space and speak to your instructor if need be.

Conclusion:

Now that you are all set to take up your first yoga class, you are ready to get going on your way to a healthy life. Yoga is indeed one of the best alternatives to gymming. There are certain gyms like Gym Newstead which offer Yoga classes as well. Make the best out of every session and you are bound to see changes in your health taking strides positively.