My trip to the supermarket & why you should NEVER buy fat-free!

I ran out of coconut oil last week and popped into a local supermarket to pick some up. While I was there I got a little bit of inspiration for writing an article to educate you on ‘fat-free’ products and why you should AVOID them…

When I go shopping I almost never go down the food isles in the middle of the shop because it’s pretty much all processed and refined foods. But the other day, I ran out of coconut oil so I made a quick stop at the new Sainsbury’s in Sunderland to pick some up.  I know that many supermarkets still don’t stock coconut oil, so I knew that I was taking a chance but I really didn’t want to battle traffic and fight for a parking space in the town centre just so I could go to Holland and Barrett, so I decided to give it a shot.

Since I wasn’t familiar with the layout of the shop, I started to look for the signs above the isles for cooking oils, and when I found the aisle…(not to my surprise)…I couldn’t find any coconut oil. As a last ditch effort I decided to asked the shop assistant if they sold coconut oil, and much to my surprise she said that they do and I would be able to find it in the “health food” aisle.  Great! So I headed down the “health food” aisle to look for the coconut oil, and that’s when I noticed all of the so-called health foods that were in the aisle.

Honestly, other than the coconut oil and a few other things, I couldn’t identify any other products that I would consider healthy, just processed foods and drinks marketed as being healthy.  And one of the most obvious themes in that aisle was ‘fat free’ or ‘reduced fat’.

Dietary fat has been the scape goat for the UK’s ever expanding waist line for a long time now and it’s difficult to simply erase the stigma it carries.  As well as many food companies still pushing ‘healthy foods’ that are really high in sugar…it’s no wonder that people are completely confused.

I don’t want to sound like a proponent for all things fatty, because there are bad fats and even good fats can be bad if you combine it with certain foods…in particular foods high in sugar.  However, fat can be the ultimate scale tipper IF you eat proper foods.  I mean that literally because consuming enough fats in your your diet can make a huge difference in your body weight and body composition.  But this is only the case if you’re restricting your sugar intake.

Keep in mind that not all sugars are created equal either.  You want to eliminate all refined sugars and stick to getting naturally occurring sugars from whole foods such as vegetables and fruits.  Although I would recommend staying away from eating too many fruits, especially those with very high sugar contents like bananas, mangoes, grapes.

I have believed in low carb eating for sometime now, (hence the Nutritional Responsibility Guide that my clients stick to) but I know that if you don’t eat the right foods it can be difficult to stick to.  Some of the common complaints people have are low energy, increased hunger and feeling weak.

When you first lower your carb intake you’ll notice that your energy level goes down.  Some people will notice it more than others, but it’s completely normal and it’s just your body going through withdrawals from not being able to get energy from sugar sources.  If you stick it out this will pass.  It may take up to 3 weeks or longer depending on how dependent you were on sugar, but your body will eventually learn to get energy from other sources, which in this case is mostly fat.

The other problem is hunger and feeling of weakness.  This is more to do with lack of calories.  As soon as you cut down on your carbs you’re automatically cutting your calories.  The mistake that people make is to try and make up the calories by consuming more proteins.  Although you should be eating ample amounts of protein, most people simply can not eat enough protein to make up for the calories loss.  Protein is vital but it’s not meant to be eaten alone…you need fat with it.  In fact when you’re eating low carb the single biggest mistake that people make is not eating enough fat.  Not eating enough fat makes you hungry and weak.

chemical crap fest

You see, when you opt for these ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat free’ items you are missing out on key nutrients that your body NEEDS!

As long you’re consuming enough fat with your protein and not over training you should be able to easily sustain a low carb diet without ever feeling hungry or weak.

So if you’re still stuck in the mindset that eating fat it bad…you need to let it go.  And if you’re currently on a low carb diet and are struggling to sustain it because of constant hunger and weakness, make sure to increase your dietary fat intake.  If you’re unsure of what kinds of fat to consume, here are my recommendation of healthy fats: coconut oil and other coconut products (like coconut butter, coconut milk), olive oil, avocados, fatty meat (grass-fed), salmon (any cold water fish) and nuts (in moderation).

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Graham

 

P.S. When you’re on a low carb diet, you need to make sure that the fitness program seamlessly works with the diet.  Most fitness programs will have you do too much and your body simply can’t sustain the necessary energy needed to finish the program when you’re restricting your carbohydrates.  If you’re looking for a fitness program that’s designed to work with a low carb diet, then G-Low Fitness Academy workouts are for you.  They are specifically designed to maximize fat burning while maintaining your lean muscles so you can get stronger and more fit…all while being on a low carbohydrate eating plan.  And although it’s not easy…in fact it’s quite challenging…the rewards are well worth it.  If you’re ready to put in the work and reap the rewards of getting lean and fit, then boot camp or personal training is for you.

 

How I fell off the rails over Easter + the 5 simple steps to get back on track!

Everyone falls off the rails with their diet at some point, right?

The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can!

Once you have had a slip up, if you don’t jump back into action quickly you will become lazy and lose focus on what you’re trying to achieve.

Some people go off the rails for a day, some a few days, some weeks, and dare I say it some go off the rails and never get back on!

The LONGER you leave it, the bigger chance you have of NEVER achieving your weight loss goals!

 

I’m going to tell you how I fell off the rails over the Easter break and then I’ll tell you my 5 best ways to get you back on the road to success….

 

When the Easter holiday was approaching I told myself I would stay disciplined and eat clean. I was in the right frame of mind up until good Friday when I took some chocolate treats to boot camp for my boot campers to enjoy.

As part of the workout the boot campers had to collect eggs from a basket (some of them had chocolate in). If they chose an egg with chocolate inside they had to do 15 burpees to burn some of the calories off before they consumed them :-)
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At the end of the workout there were a few chocolate bunnies left. I gave in and had 3 little chocolates, they were my favourite Lindt chocolates I couldn’t resist! That was enough to send me off the rails for the whole bank holiday weekend.

Saturday night we invited some friends to the house for a takeaway, I had a chicken kebab from Grill n Chill in Seaham. Sunday I had dinner at my parents house which included hot cross buns, chocolate eggs etc. On Monday my son Max had a stack full of chocolate built up on the kitchen table. Hes only 9 months old so I thought he would need a hand getting rid of them so I kindly polished his milky button egg off.

Anyway, you get the point, I totally pigged out!

And I bet a lot of people reading this did the same thing. After all, its Easter and I think most people let their hair down when a holiday comes around.

But like I always say, when you have a slip up it’s important that you get back on track asap! On Tuesday I done 5 things to get me back on my healthy eating plan. You can do them too.

Here are my 5 tips to getting back on track….

 

1. Get all the bad food out of the house to avoid temptation. If its lying around the kitchen at some point it will be eaten, even with all the will power in the world! So get rid of unhealthy foods. That doesn’t mean you need to throw everything in the bin. You could put things that will keep in a box and put it in your garden shed out of the way. Or somewhere where it’s not easy to get your hands on. Or, you could give things like chocolate eggs to friends or family. At least it’s not going to waste :-)

 

2. Get weighed – You may be scared to step on those scales because you know you will be disappointed in yourself.  But, flip it round, turn that disappointment into a fierce determination to get what you want!

It also gives you a fresh starting point. Imagine, in a weeks time when you are feeling better in yourself and know you have lost a little bit of weight, you want to know how much you have lost, right? If you don’t weigh yourself to start with you will never know how much progress you have made.

 

3. Prepare every meal for the first few days until you are back into the swing of things. Write down on a piece of paper every meal (even snacks) that you are going to have 3 days in advance. Write a shopping list and make sure you have all of the ingredients in the house. Do as much preparation for each meal now so that when it comes to meal times most of the work is already done. This will reduce the chances of picking up some fast food when you are in a rush.

 

4. Stock your cupboards with healthy snacks so you don’t go long periods of time without food. If you don’t snack in between meals there’s a good chance you will start to feel hungry. When hunger sets in, you get lots of cravings and you want to avoid that if you can. Stock up on things like unsalted nuts, fruit, berries etc.

 

5. Get out and put yourself through a tough workout. It will be hard at first and will take some determination to push yourself through it, but it will give you a good sense of achievement when you are done.

When you workout it releases endorphins (the feel good hormone) in your body and you will feel healthy, refreshed and full of life again!

 

So, if you are the same as me and went off the rails over Easter go and give these 5 steps a go.

 

 

Graham

Top 8 Weight Loss Supplements (and the ones I use)

My boot camp and personal training clients have inspired me to write this article today. I get lots of questions asking about supplements – which ones to take, when to take them, what brand to buy etc etc.

The world of supplements is a mine field, but I’m hoping by the time you have read through the content I will have cleared up all of your questions.

At the end of the article I will show and tell you which supplements I personally take and why I take them. Plus I will show you a picture of inside my knee!!! (sounds a bit random I know haha, but keep reading)

 

Supplements:

If you make every effort to eat the right things, it’s certainly possible to maintain a healthy diet through food alone, but sometimes supplements can help. If you’re taking on a serious training programme or find yourself short of cooking time – or both – supplements are a simple and convenient way to get all the nutrients you need to build a strong, lean body.

Like I said earlier, buying supplements can be baffling because there are so many to choose from. I have added my top 8 below. That’s not to say you need to go out and buy all 8 supplements though! Read through each one and work out which ones you may benefit from.

1. Whey Protein – When taken in conjunction with a good nutrition and exercise programme whey protein helps you gain lean

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  muscle mass. Here is a simple equation to why it works…

More lean muscle mass = Increased metabolism = More fat burned!

Ladies, don’t worry, you’re not going to look like Jodie Marsh after a couple of protein shakes. Over time it will make you look leaner but it will never make you look like a body builder!!!

Plus, whey protein helps speed up recovery after those tough sessions. To get the best results, drink a protein shake as soon as possible after a workout to start the recovery process straight away.

Whey protein comes in a powder form and can be mixed with water or milk to make a protein shake. It can also be added to smoothies and juices if you want extra flavour.

I recommend Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein.

I could go into a lot more detail about protein but Im trying to keep this short and to the point. However, if you want to learn more you can download my free e-book ‘Your Guide To Buying The Right Protein Supplement’. http://www.glowfitnessacademy.com/e-books/

2. Matcha Green Tea

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1999) found that green tea can increase thermogenesis by 35-43% and thermogenesis is one way of raising your daily energy expenditure. So, drinking green tea can increase thermogenesis, which in turn can increase your daily energy expenditure (i.e. burning more calories).

Also, a study in 2008 found that green tea ingestion ‘can increase fat oxidation during moderate intensity exercise’ So, if you are planning a little workout, why not try taking a shot of matcha half an hour before.

I recommend Teapigs Matcha Green Tea.

G-Low Fitness Academy is an official stockist of Teapigs. I have a couple of these left in stock. If you would like some drop me an email and I will get it sent out to you asap.

 

3. Krill Oil

Krill oil is oil from a tiny, shrimp-like animal. Baleen whales, mantas, and whale sharks eat primarily krill. In Norwegian, the word “krill” means “whale food.” People extract the oil from krill, place it in capsules, and use it for medicine.

Krill oil is packed full of omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega-3s sourced from krill are more effective than fish oil in combating some metabolic symptoms, including raised fat levels in the heart and liver and violent mood swings.

 

In a recent study researchers found that both fish-sourced and krill-sourced omega-3 fats are effective in reducing fat levels, but krill is more effective.

The researchers found that, when parameters associated with obesity were considered, krill oil reduced rat heart fat levels by 42 percent, compared to 2 percent for fish oils.

In the liver, a 60 percent reduction was observed for krill, 38 percent for fish oil. Fat build up in the liver can lead to insulin insensitivity and cause type 2 diabetes.

 

4. Multi Vitamin

I always recommend taking a multivitamin with added minerals for extra nutrient support. Specific minerals such as iron, selenium and zinc help to facilitate weight loss by waking up and nourishing the thyroid gland.

You could also consider CoQ10, a vitamin-like compound that aids in the production of 95 percent of the body’s energy, and is also a thermogenic, meaning it increases metabolism causing the body to burn fat faster. Thermogenic supplements are intended (and taken) specifically to increase your metabolism, which helps you burn fat and sugar. CoQ10 has been clinically proven in studies to help burn calories faster.

5. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a natural hormone produced by the body when exposed to sunlight or acquired through diet and supplementation. Its shown to play a critical role in increasing the metabolic energy of fat cells faster weight loss benefits.

New scientific research on Vitamin D revealed its natural ability to make fat cells become more metabolically active for quicker weight loss and better toxic waste elimination.

As well as its weight loss benefits, its also known to help support a healthy bone structure and aid in several health challenges like

  • targets belly fat first
  • turns body into fat burning mode instead of fat storing mode
  • high blood pressure
  • helps form stronger bones to fight osteoporosis
  • helps protect against different cancers
  • boosts natural immune system
  • reduces inflammation & joint stiffness
  • effects the ‘i’m full to brain’ leptin hormone

 

6. Zink

Found in meats, nuts and seafood, zinc is a mineral that is required for enzymatic reactions and proper immune function in the body. Zinc is a mineral that is required for enzymatic reactions and proper immune function in the body.

Research suggests that zinc boosts fat-burning hormones leptin and thyroid, which help induce fat loss.

7. Magnesium

Magnesium and the B-complex vitamins are energy nutrients: they activate enzymes that control digestion, absorption, and the utilization of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Lack of these necessary energy nutrients causes improper utilization of food, leading to such far-ranging symptoms as hypoglycemia, anxiety, and obesity.

Food craving and overeating can be simply a desire to continue eating past fullness because the body is, in fact, craving nutrients that are missing from processed food. You continue to eat empty calories that pack on the pounds but get you no further ahead in your nutrient requirements.

Magnesium is also necessary in the chemical reaction that allows insulin to usher glucose into cells, where glucose is involved in making energy for the body. If there is not enough magnesium to do this job, both insulin and glucose become elevated. The excess glucose gets stored as fat and contributes to obesity. Having excess insulin puts you on the road toward diabetes.

The connection between stress and obesity cannot be overlooked. The stress chemical cortisol signals a metabolic shutdown that makes losing weight almost impossible. It’s as if the body feels it is under an attack such that it must hoard all its resources, including fat stores, and won’t let go of them under any inducement. Magnesium can effectively neutralize the effects of stress.

8. Flaxseed Oil

high content of good Omega 3 fatty acids is the important fact related to weight loss and flax.

Flaxseed contains 42 percent of oil, out of which 70 percent is polyunsaturated fat that is essential for your health -our body cannot make it on it’s own and needs a nutritious source in order to be healthy.

It is the healthy Omega 3 fats found in what we eat, ie Flax Omega 3, that tell our brain we are full and that we don’t need to eat for a while.

You could eat low fat foods all day long on a special diet and STILL not feel full! How frustrating! (for you and for your body!)

Flax is essential as it contains Omega 3 polyunsaturated fats that help you REALLY feel full!

 

Ok, so they are my top 8 supplements for weight loss. Some of them may not be for you, so it’s important that you do more research into each of them before you decide on which ones you take.

 

Here are the 5 supplements I take

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100 % Whey Protein.

I have 1 protein shake every day after a workout, It helps me gain lean muscle mass and it helps speed up my recovery after those hard sessions.

Omega 3 Krill Oil (Holland & Barrett)

I take my krill oil every morining to get the essential omega 3 fatty acids my body needs.

Glucosamine Sulphate (Boots)

This one isn’t on the list above because it doesn’t really affect weight loss. I take it because it helps strengthen my joints.

In 2005 my football career was cut short due to a knee injury. I shattered my knee cap playing football and I had to have reconstructive surgery on my knee. In short detail, they had to detach my quadriceps muscles from below my knee cap and peel the muscle back so they could remove the shattered pieces of bone. The surgeon said that a quarter of my knee cap was shattered into little bits like rice crispies. Once they removed the shattered bit they then had reattach my muscle using pins. Nice eh?

Anyway, after the operation I was told that it was highly likely that I would get arthritis in my knee when I was older. So in order to combat that I have taken Glucosamine Sulphate ever since. Here’s why…

Glucosamine is used to help the body to repair damaged joints and this process can be slowed down by a lack of glucosamine in the joints.

Many scientific studies have shown that glucosamine improves joint pain and medically-approved measures of severity of osteoarthritis. The results of studies conducted between 1980 and 2002 were pooled, standardised and reviewed in 2003. The conclusion drawn was that glucosamine is effective for the relief of osteoarthritic symptoms both in terms of symptom relief e.g. pain and in improving the structure of joints.

 

If you have joint aches and pains this supplement could help.

 

Oh, and here’s the picture I promised you of inside my knee. This is when they were removing the rice crispies :-)

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Energise Effervescent – (Asda)

This is a multivitamin like berocca. I get Asda’s own brand because it is cheaper and you get more in the packet, and the ingredients are EXACTLY the same!

Energise effervescent contains vitamin B and C and essential minerals. The magnesium and B vitamins help you release your energy and offer a healthy way to stay on top form. Its free from caffeine, sugar and artificial stimulants.

Matcha Green Tea

I have matcha with my mid morning smoothie. I mix together some frozen berries, fresh fruit, natural yougurt and one serving of Matcha. It gives me a great boost when I most need it.

 

 

I hope this has given you a little more of an insight into supplements. If you have any questions dont hesitate to ask. Head over to my facebook page to ask any questions.

 

 

Thanks

 

 

Graham

I CHEATED to lose weight – YOU can too…

I CHEATED to lose weight – YOU can too…

Ok don’t get too excited, that doesn’t mean I have found a quick and easy way lose weight. I haven’t had liposuction or been taking diet pills.

I’ll never do that because I actually LOVE working hard to get my results, it’s really rewarding!

But, I do CHEAT every now and again.

What I am talking about is CHEAT MEALS.

Cheat meals can have a real positive effect on you physically and mentally when you are on your weight loss journey!

I’m going to tell you the 3 main points about HOW and WHY cheat meals work…

First though, let me tell you how I first discovered cheat meals. About 6 years ago before I moved to Dubai during my personal training course my tutor spent half a day talking about them. At the time I thought he was crazy!

I thought, how can you be on a diet trying to lose weight but then sometimes eat what you want? Doesn’t that contradict itself?

Then he started telling me the science behind it. I must admit I still wasn’t convinced!

When the course had finished and I passed all of the exams, an opportunity came my way of working as a personal trainer in Dubai. I jumped at the chance!

As soon as I found out I had got the job I hit the gym and started a clean diet. I wanted to get lean to look my best for when I was chilling on the beach :-)

But, after about 5-6 weeks I hit a plateau with my weight loss. I couldn’t work out why. I was working just as hard in the gym, my diet was still clean, in fact perfect!

I thought back to that day when I was told about cheat meals and thought I’d give it a go…

To cut a long story short (because Im rambling on a bit now haha), a few days after my first cheat meal the pounds started to drop again. Let me explain why…

DONT WORRY, I’m not going to baffle you with science I am going to tell you very simply, 2 ways how cheat meals work!

1. Lets imagine you are on a calorie controlled diet. When you restrict calories your metabolic rate slows down as your body adapts to the low calorie intake.
For example, if you require 2000 calories per day, and your diet programme is providing 1400 calories, your body will become used to this low calorie intake and over time your metabolic rate will slow down as your body wants to hang on to those valuable calories. We call this ‘starvation mode’.

How quickly your metabolic rate will slow down depends on how severe your diet is and how lean you are to start with, but your metabolic rate will definitely slow down over long periods of dieting.

So, a cheat meal simply tricks your metabolism into thinking that the famine that is occurring is not, which in turn will keep your metabolism high.

2. Apart from the metabolic affect, I think the most important part of a cheat meal lies in the psychological factors.

If you plan a day in your week to have one cheat meal, it will change your whole mindset of the diet. You will have something to look forward to, it will motivate you to stay focused during the week and it will probably help you stick to your diet for longer.

As you may have experienced at some point when you are on a diet for a longer period of time, your cravings will begin to intensify. These cravings can be very strong and sometimes may even stop you from continuing with the diet. Cheat meals satisfy those cravings and keep you motivated to continue with your healthy eating plan.

So, although it may be hard to get your head around, give a cheat meal a go as it really does have its benefits.

cheat meal

 

Here’s how we plan our cheat meals in our house…

 

We normally have our cheat meal on a weekend, as this is the time when we tend to go off the rails. Knowing we are going to treat ourselves to a cheat meal helps reduce cravings for things like fast food and alcohol at the weekend. It also gives us motivation and something to look forward to during the week.

 

Sometimes I use my cheat meal at those awkward times when I cannot find a healthy option. Like when I’m at a birthday party or going out for a meal with the family. Or even when I’m out shopping and I need something quick.

 

Enjoy!

Graham

 

P.s. please remember, although cheat meals are good, ONLY ONE PER WEEK and try to control portion size! Don’t go crazy and start having a cheat meal every day. You still need to be disciplined!

The shocking realisation of the effects of WHEAT and GLUTEN and how I ended up with a puffy face.

I am writing this post to tell you about a personal experience of mine that I recently had that made me feel like sh*t. And it was all down to wheat and gluten!

Two weeks ago I went away for the weekend for my brother Adams 21st birthday. There was about 30 friends/family and we rented a few holiday homes in Pickering, Yorkshire. The place was great, it was out of the way so we couldn’t disturb anyone and it had a private swimming pool! I actually had a great workout in the pool, I might post this later if anyone is interested?

Anyway, I was a little nervous about going away for the full weekend because I had been eating clean since January 1st and didn’t want to ruin all my hard work. You know what its like when you go away for a party weekend – its full of unhealthy food and alcohol.

I went away with all intentions of sticking to the nutritional responsibility plan (if you haven’t already downloaded it you can get it here www.glowfitnessacademy.com/nutritional-respsonsibility-the-guide/). Myself, Vikki and Max travelled down on the Friday night after Seaburn boot camp. By the time we got there the party was well under way, the drink was flowing and the tables were full of party food.

Immediately, everyone greeted us and offered us a drink. There was everything you could imagine, champagne, wine, vodka, whiskey, gin etc etc. As much as I tried to say no, I thought it would be rude not to celebrate my brothers birthday with a drink. So I thought one Jack Daniels and coke wasn’t going to hurt…

You know where this is going, right?

Yep, 4,5,6,7,  glasses later I was quite merry! But, although I had a good drink I managed to avoid the table of unhealthy food so I was pretty chuffed with that.

That was the first drink I had in about 8 weeks and I felt horrendous the next day. I woke up in the morning with a banging head ache and furry teeth! When I managed to drag myself out of bed to get a shower, in an attempt to freshen up, the smell of bacon sandwiches wafted out of the kitchen. Just what I needed to sort out this hangover – or so I thought.

I scoffed my way through 2 bacon sandwiches and a cup of coffee at breakfast. When lunch time came  I still wasn’t feeling too good and decided to join everyone in having fish and chips. On top of that I had other snacks throughout the day. The whole day was packed full of foods containing wheat and gluten.

What happened next shocked me! I hadnt eaten wheat or gluten for over seven weeks and I forgot the effects it can have on your body. Here are the three main things I noticed…

1. I noticed within the first 30 minutes of eating the two bacon sandwiches that I had instant bloating. It felt like I had a big pot belly! That morning I had a skype chat with a friend in Dubai and he commented that my face looked puffy and swollen, and that’s because when you have wheat and gluten it actually retains water and can make you look more bloated around the face and stomach. It also causes gastrointestinal inflammation and can lead to bloating in the GI tract.

2. I had problems going to the toilet for a couple of days and it gave me really bad indigestion. Gluten is the Latin word for glue. It binds up and becomes glue like in the stomach and it becomes difficult to pass through the digestive system, so you can end up with digestive issues. When you get digestive issues you are not going to take up all the nutrients you should be from the foods you eat. It can take 7-14 days to flush the wheat and gluten out of your system.

3. If you attend boot camp or personal training session you may have noticed I have had a cold for the last couple of weeks. That’s because wheat and gluten can reduce your immune system by 70%. I first noticed the cold appearing on the Monday, the first day after the weekend away. So I think the alcohol, wheat and gluten combined lowered my immune system and I imagine I have picked up a cold because of that.

 

Because my diet had been clean for over 7 weeks I had forgotten the side effects wheat and gluten can have so that weekend away really hit me hard. The important thing is I am back on track now and feeling great!

If you have little slip ups like this it’s really important that you get back on track right away otherwise you will find yourself on a slippery slope and before you know it you will be back into all of your old habits.

Sometimes, I think it’s important to have these little slip ups so you realise how badly your body can be affected by these things. You can learn from the mistakes and eliminate the things that make you feel bad from your diet.

Have you had any experiences like this? I would love to hear of your little slip ups. Im sure other people can learn from your mistakes too. If you would like to share them leave a comment on my facebook page www.facebook.com/glowfitnessacademy

How SLEEP can affect WEIGHT LOSS and how listening to the radio changed my sleeping patterns.

Just a quick post today about something that often gets over looked when on a weight loss journey… SLEEP!

I always considered myself to be quite a good sleeper. Id normally get that recommended eight hours sleep per night. But, about eight months ago my son Max was born and that sleeping pattern changed a bit. Actually, a lot!

After Max was born my sleeping time was reduced to about 6-7 hours of broken up sleep. To be honest I felt ok with this amount of sleep at first but it started to catch up with me and after a couple of weeks I noticed that my weight loss had slowed down.

Leading up to Max’s birth I was on a detox because I wanted to be in good shape when he arrived. I wanted to look good in those first baby photos (I know I’m a bit vein haha).

Anyway like I said, my weight loss had slowed down, but I hadn’t changed my eating habits, in fact they were probably better after he was born, and my training was constantly progressing. I couldn’t put my finger on why I stopped losing weight.

Until about 3 or 4 weeks after Max was born, when I was on my to a personal training session in Boldon. I was listening to BBC radio Newcastle in the car and they had a doctor on the show answering questions about sleep. I was listening carefully because I thought I might be able to get a few tips on how to get Max into better sleeping patterns.

They didnt speak about sleeping patterns for babies but what they did talk about changed my own sleeping patterns and it had a HUGE affect on my weight loss! Keep reading…

There were loads of callers on the show firing questions at the doctor (I can’t remember his name) and he was giving out lots of very good tips! I thought that I would try a few of who them to see if I could improve my sleeping.

This is what I done to change my routine and I’d recommend it to anyone who doesn’t get a good night sleep…

 

1. Get into a routine of going to bed at the same time every night. The human body is a very good adapter, it will adapt to change quite quickly, whether its with exercise, nutrition, sleep etc. If you get into a routine of going to bed at the same time every night your body will adapt and become used to that routine. So, let’s say you make your bed time 10pm, after a few weeks your body will adapt and automatically relate bed time to 10pm.

I used to go to bed at different times every night, sometimes 9 o’clock, sometimes 10 o’clock, sometimes after midnight. My body never knew when to shut down. I tried this technique – I set myself a target of going to bed at 10pm every night. It was hard at first, sometimes I had to really battle with myself to go to bed when I wasn’t tired. But it definitely paid off. Now when it gets to 10pm my body automatically starts to unwind and relax and I know its time for bed.

Here’s a quick scenario for you…

baby-laying-like-a-boss

What happens when a new baby is born? What do most people tell you to do straight away? Get the baby into a sleeping pattern, right?

You get the baby into a routine as early as possible, don’t you? with Max we bath him at 6:30 every night, read him a story, do a little bit of baby massage (he loves it, he almost lies back with his hands behind his head), give him his bottle and hes in bed by 7:00-7:15 every night. He now sleeps like a baby (excuse the pun) from 7:30pm-7am!

Why should adults be any different? We all need a good sleeping pattern. I’m not saying you need a massage and a bottle every night but getting into going to bed at the same time every night can really help. Give it a go!

 

2. Read a book in bed. This was a big one for me. I HATE READING!!! I would rather watch TV or listen to music any day than read a book. I find it really boring. But after listening to the doctor on the radio I decided to give it a go.

See, when you open a book and start reading, it focuses your attention on one thing. You get engrossed in the book and your attention is solely in one place. You don’t think about anything else other than that book. Within no time your body starts to unwind and relax and your eye lids start to feel heavy.

Sometimes you may even fall asleep with the book in your hands. It normally only takes me about 20 minutes before I’m feeling really sleepy!

Give this a go, it really works. You can read anything, auto biographies, fiction, self help books etc etc.  I’m not a big fiction fan so at the moment Im reading ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’ by Stephen R Covey. It’s a really good book, Id really recommend it!

 

3. Don’t eat just before bed, try to leave at least an hour or two if possible.

Why?

When you relax and unwind and get ready for sleeping, your body wants to shut down and do 1 thing… SLEEP!

If you eat just before bed, your body needs to do 2 things, digest the food you have just eaten and try relax/unwind. Your body cannot totally shut down, it needs to go to work on digesting!

So let your body have a break and let it switch off at bed time. Try to eat your last meal or snack at least an hour before bed.

 

So, there’s the three things that I changed to improve my sleeping patterns but I guess you are wondering how that affects weight loss?

Well, it’s down to hormones when we sleep. In fact two specific hormones called ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin.

Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.

More ghrelin + less leptin = weight gain.

You are eating more, plus your metabolism is slower when you are sleep-deprived!

 

Go ahead and give these three techniques a chance to work and see if it makes a difference in your weight loss journey.

 

Thanks for your time reading my post today. Keep checking for my next post about ‘wheat and gluten and how I ended up with a puffy face!’

 

 

 

Fill up on blueberries!

Every year millions of people vow to make this New Year the one where they finally start eating healthy or finally lose weight. However, by February the vast majority of these people have given up on their New Year’s resolutions and fallen back into their old eating habits.

While there are many reasons that people fail to achieve their New Year’s resolutions, one of the most common is the lack of a clear plan. People say they are going to eat healthy or try to lose weight but they don’t take it any further than that.

If you’ve been guilty of this in the past, then today I’m here to help. In this article I’m going to be focusing on one specific dietary change and explaining how adding blueberries to your diet can help you achieve all your health and fitness based New Year’s resolutions.

 

Why Blueberries?

If you keep up to date with health and fitness news, then you’ll be well aware that blueberries are constantly billed as one of the healthiest foods on the planet. A single cup serving adds a minimal 84 calories to your daily intake but also contains plenty of fiber, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin K. However, the real beauty of blueberries lies in the anthocyanins they contain. The anthocyanins are a group of powerful, health boosting nutrients with a long list of health benefits and blueberries are one of the richest food sources. By eating blueberries, you can take advantage of these health boosting properties of anthocyanins which include:

- Fighting cancer

- Keeping your blood healthy

- Preventing diabetes

- Reducing inflammation within your body

- Supporting a healthy heart

 

Foods To Substitute For Blueberries

 

Blueberries are naturally very sweet but actually contain very little sugar, with an entire cup of these powerful fruits packing less than 100 calories. This makes them the perfect substitute for sweet treats which often contain hundreds of calories per serving and very few nutrients. By swapping any of the sweet snacks below for blueberries, you’ll get to enjoy all the health benefits listed above and also reduce your daily caloric intake:

- Cakes

- Candy

- Chocolate

- Cookies

 

0810-yogurt-blueberries_li

Serving Suggestions For Blueberries

Blueberries taste fantastic on their own and make a perfect sweet treat in their natural form. However, if you want to get a little creative and add some variety to the way you eat blueberries, check out the serving suggestions below:

1) Blueberries & Oatmeal: Prepare your oatmeal as normal and then top with blueberries to give it a sweet, juicy twist.

2) Blueberry Blast Smoothie: Place a cup of frozen blueberries and a cup of frozen raspberries into a blender and blend until the berries are combined and frothy for a tangy, blueberry infused smoothie.

3) Blueberries & Greek Yogurt: Place a portion of Greek yogurt in a bowl and top with blueberries for a snack that’s naturally creamy and sweet.

 

Summary

I hope this article gives you a boost with your health and fitness based New Year’s resolutions. While blueberries alone aren’t enough to clean up your entire diet or help you lose weight, by having a clear plan and making small, consistent changes to your diet, you’re much more likely to succeed. Do this a few times with a few different foods and before you know it, your entire diet will be much healthier and those unwanted pounds will start to melt away.

Drink More Green Tea This New Year

Now that Christmas and the related festive indulgences are over, it’s time to kick start the New Year and start working towards your New Year’s resolutions. However, deciding that you want to lose weight or eat healthy this year is not enough. Instead what you need to do is start taking specific actions to help you achieve these goals.

 

In this article I’m going to be providing you with one of these specific actions and discussing how drinking more green tea this New Year can enhance your overall health and help you lose weight.

 

Why Green Tea?

Green tea is one of the most talked about health foods on the planet. However, unlike most health foods which get lots of media attention, green tea lives up to the hype. The reason green tea is so good for you is that it’s packed full of a group of health boosting nutrients called flavan-3-ols. These flavan-3-ols in green tea have numerous benefits in the human body which include:

-       Keeping your blood healthy

-       Keeping your heart healthy

-       Minimizing the severity of allergies

-       Protecting against cancer

-       Strengthening your immune system

 

Drinks To Substitute For Green Tea

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to stay fit and healthy is not paying attention to their liquid calories. They’ll count the calories they eat with scientific precision but then they’ll go and gulp down a sugar filled drink without thinking twice. Green tea contains zero calories, so if you’re currently guilty of not paying attention to your liquid calories, drinking more green tea can cut the amount you consume and help you lose weight. So, if you drink any of the following drinks on a regular basis, substitute them for a cup of green tea and watch the pounds melt away:

-       Beer

-       Liqueur

-       Milkshakes

-       Soda

-       Store bought coffees

 

Serving Suggestions For Green Tea

Although green tea is very good for you and can help you lose weight, many people find the grassy taste overpowering. So, if you’re not a huge fan of the natural taste of green tea, try one of the serving suggestions below:

1)    Green Tea Lemon: While your green tea is steeping, add a slice of lemon to the cup to infuse it with a sweet, citrus flavor.

2)    Green Tea Smoothie: Place a chilled cup of green tea into a blender along with a selection of your favorite fruits and blend all the ingredients until they’re frothy for a sweet, fruity green tea smoothie.

3)    Iced Green Tea: Place some green tea leaves along with a selection of your favorite fruits and herbs into a bowl. Then add hot water to the bowl and let the ingredients steep for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, strain the mixture into a large jug and chill it in the fridge for at least 1 hour to create a refreshing iced green tea.

 

mao feng green tea

Summary

While green tea is something of an acquired taste, drinking it can help boost your health in countless ways. Plus, since it contains zero calories, the more green tea you drink, the less liquid calories you’ll consume and the more weight you’ll lose. So get the kettle boiling, brew up a cup of this hot healthy drink and start taking your first steps towards achieving your health and fitness based New Year’s resolutions today.

 

Recommendation

The green tea I recommend is Teapigs Mao Feng. G-Low Fitness Academy is an official stockist of Teapigs and Mao Feng green tea is priced at £11 for a box of 50 tea temples. If you would like a box, please contact me via email info@glowfitnessacademy.com or phone 07875548880.

The Role Your Mind Plays in Weight Loss

When you first decide to lose weight and get in better shape, you can compare yourself to a person who decides to give up smoking – especially if you have been overweight for a number of years and have struggled with bad eating habits for just as long.

Like smoking, drinking, and drug abuse, overeating is a strong habit that will require a fair amount of determination to overcome. This is one of the main reasons why so many people hop from diet to diet, fad to fad – never quite sticking to one long enough to see results. They are seeking the “easy way,” not realizing that no plan is going to be easy because they have some deeply ingrained habits that need to be broken, and that is always a challenge no matter which weight loss plan they choose.

Does weight loss seem this difficult for you too?

If so, you’ll be glad to know that there are things you can do to make the process a little bit easier, and it all begins in your head.

First, you may be surprised to realize that most of the actions you take on a daily basis stem from your mind-set. A very negative mind-set will trigger you to take negative actions. (Example: have you ever had a bad day and ended up blowing your diet because you just didn’t care about reaching your goals in that moment?)

Just like your own thoughts can work against you, you can turn them around and make them work FOR you.

Start by making a decision that you are going to improve your eating and exercise habits no matter how challenging it may be at first. Commit to sticking with it and not quitting, not hopping to another program – no matter how long it takes to reach your goal.

Next, build yourself up! Start each day by encouraging yourself. Tell yourself that you CAN do this. You CAN make wise choices about the foods you eat. You CAN start exercising and getting in better shape. Tell yourself that it’s okay to go at your own pace because you will get stronger and pick up the pace eventually.

Henry Ford
The more you build yourself up, the more likely you are to keep moving forward instead of quitting.
If you have a bad day, don’t let it destroy everything you’ve accomplished so far. Acknowledge that you’re not feeling so positive right now, and do what you can to make yourself feel better – NOT using food or other substances, but through healthy activities like walking, meditation, dancing, resting – whatever you have to do to get through another day, do what you can. And promise yourself that tomorrow will be better.

 

These may seem like small, inconsequential moves but you’d be amazed to realize just how much power your thoughts have over everything you do, or don’t do. Create the right mind-set for successful weight loss, and your weight loss will be successful!

 

New G-Low Fitness Academy Kit – ORDER NOW before its too late

The new G-Low Fitness Academy kit has arrived and looks amazing!

Since everyone has seen the new kit there has been some great feed back – ‘They looked amazing last night. REALLY professional’.
A lot of people have expressed interest in getting some kit for themselves or for friends as a gift, so I will be putting another order in very soon. I have to order the kit in bulk and this will probably be the last order before Christmas.
So, if you would like something can you please let me know by replying to this email or contacting me on 07875 548 880.
Jacket £32.50
Pants £25
T-shirt £20
Shorts £15
Thanks,
Graham