Here are some of the top fitness accounts on Instagram, who don’t just post selfies and bootie shots….
1. Ben Carpenter (@bdccarpenter)
Ben constantly posts quality nutrition advice in the form of helpful studies (without the science babble), videos and the odd infographic. Worth a follow!
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2. Scott Baptie (@ScottBaptie)
Sorry, this is shameless but I can’t do a round-up without including me in it. Recipes, fitness infographics along with cute dog and baby photos.
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3. Nichola Ludlam-Raine (@nicsnutrition)
Nic is a dietician specialising in bariatric surgery but her IG feed is packed with tasty recipes and useful nutrition tips.
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4. Graeme Tomlinson (@thefitnesschef_)
Aberdeen lad Graeme has risen to fame with his excellent infographics dispelling myths left, right and centre. Watch out for his new book coming soon!
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5. Lucy Mountain (@lucymountain)
Previously thefashionfitnessfoodie – Lucy posts some beautiful graphics challenging clean-eating BS and challenges many other wrongly held ideas in the fitness industry.
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6. Dr Joshua Wolrich (@drjoshuawolrich)
NHS Surgical Doctor fighting weight stigma also been on the podcast chatting about celery juice: FFF 138: Calling BS On Celery Juice, Alkaline Cleanses & Raw Keto Vegan Paleo Carnivore Diets On Instagram – with Dr Joshua Wolrich
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7. Aadam Ali (@physiqonomics)
When a fantastic illustrator is also a fitness expert you can be guaranteed the IG posts are going to be superb.
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8. Megan Rossi (@theguthealthdoctor)
Dr Megan Rossi (PhD, RD, APD) is the queen of gut health. Her page is packed full of helpful info if you want to get that good gut feeling.
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The post 8 Fitness Experts You Must Follow On Instagram In 2019 appeared first on Food For Fitness.
Whatever industry you work in, you know the aches and pains of staying in one place for too long. It’s a common misconception that standing all day is physically more difficult than sitting all day. But with new data showing that our sedentary lifestyles have lasting negative impacts, which one is right?
It turns out, both sitting and standing all day can cause serious health problems. The best way to stay healthy at work is to alternate. But how do you stay productive while making sure to give your body what it needs? The answer is in movement.
The Office Revolution
There are definite upsides to our modern life. You can get to where you’re going without breaking a sweat, in your car or by public transport. We work indoors, instead of long, punishing hours in all weathers.
But the impact that this sedentary lifestyle has had on our bodies doesn’t suggest that we’ve found a way to a healthier workday. From long-term effects caused by slouching in front of the desk, eye strain, headaches, higher cholesterol, and even depression and insomnia, your office job comes with a lot of strain on your health.
Demanding Physical Jobs
Recent data would suggest that the trick is to ensure you’re standing more. Standing and treadmill desks in offices are considered a great way to keep you from spending too much time sitting at a desk. And it is true that finding ways to get your workout in is becoming easier, thanks to desk-sized workout equipment, and a renewed interest in physical fitness at the office.
But the reality is that standing too much at work can also cause problems. These could include:
- Blood clots
- Varicose veins
- Bunions, corns, and other painful foot conditions
- Problems with posture
- Chronic pains, especially of the lower back and hips, leading to musculoskeletal disorders
- Increased risk of heart conditions
… and more.
As you can see, there are upsides and downsides to both sitting and standing jobs. The takeaway seems to be that staying still in any job will result in everything from heart problems, musculoskeletal conditions, and even negatively impact your mental health.
So what choices do we have? Before you decide to make a drastic career change for the sake of your health, consider these tips for staying healthy while at work, no matter whether you’re sitting or standing.
Based on the data we have, the answer isn’t as cut and dried as swapping sitting for standing and vice versa. Instead, work toward a more flexible workplace, which incorporates both. If you need to be standing, try to stay on the move as you do it.
Standing desks sound like a good idea in theory, but they come with some health risks of their own. Treadmill desks are a good way to keep moving and create a healthier office atmosphere.
For more demanding jobs, such as those in the service sector, keep an eye on your break times, and when there’s a lull, choose to sit, rather than standing in place.
Sticking to fast food options for your lunch break just increases your risk of heart conditions, high cholesterol and other health problems. Choose healthy options for your at-desk meals and snacks, and try to bring a lunch from home, or think outside the takeout box. Does your office offer free coffee? Remember to stay hydrated. Cut down your caffeine, and drink more water instead. And remember to take time to eat a healthy breakfast before going into work!
Find Ways To Work Movement Into Your Day
When it comes to staying healthy, it’s the little choices that matter most. Finding ways to work movement into your schedule can help mitigate the effects of staying in one position for too long. There are plenty of surprisingly creative ways to work movement into your workday. Try these, and find what works for you:
- Park further away from the building
- Take the stairs
- Invest in an under-the-desk elliptical machine, a fitness ball or a wobble cushion
- Take a walk during your break
- Every time you go to the toilet, drink a glass of water. This will not only keep you hydrated, but will also encourage frequent toilet breaks
- Use a productivity app: these time you when you working on a specific task, but give you regular 5-minute breaks as well. During these breaks, you can walk, stretch or even perform some mini-workouts
Think about your work environment and where you can reasonably incorporate more movement into your schedule. It may not seem like much, but making sure to keep moving can have a huge impact over time. Researchers have learned that ideally, you should be incorporating movement into your workday every 30 minutes.
Take Shorter Breaks More Often
Whether you’re working a sitting or standing job, how you take your breaks matters. If you’re taking your break at your desk, chances are, you’re still operating in work-mode, which means you’re not giving your body or brain the break it needs.
Longer breaks mean less opportunity to recharge your brain. Instead of going for an hour-long meal break, talk to HR about taking two shorter breaks, if your schedule will allow it.
If you’re tied to the longer single break, make use of it. Distract yourself from work. If you’re in a sitting job, get up, take a walk. If you’re standing all day, take the time to actually sit (or lie) down, get off your feet, and recharge your mind.
Take In The Scenery
Even if your break involves sitting, there’s plenty of research that shows off the health benefits to time outdoors. Time outside reduces stress, the effects of inflammation, and chronic pain, and even boosts your immune system.
If you can find a way to take your lunch break outside, or simply park further away, to get in your fresh air and exercise, it can help deal with the problems of being on your feet, or sitting in an office all day.
Most importantly: Talk to Your Employer
Sometimes, staying on your feet, or spending hours hunched in front of a computer screen is unavoidable. A big project is due, you’re gunning for a promotion, or you’re simply too busy to take breaks.
But that’s not always the case. Not moving for a prolonged time is often not necessary at all, and certainly not worth the potential health issues. When you’re feeling overloaded, chained to your office, take the time to talk to HR.
Often a simple change in the schedule can lead to better results, for you and your job. After all, no one wants chronic pain, a lower immune system, or stress to impact your work. You’d be surprised how willing your workplace is to be flexible about your schedule, and your health concerns. After all, you are your employers most valuable asset. As your health is yours.
The post How To Get More Steps Into Your Day When You Have A Sedentary Job appeared first on Food For Fitness.
Being healthy in 2019 is becoming the default norm but – if you’re new to the game – knowing what to do about it can get a little confusing.
Low calorie diet or low carb?
Long-distance running or yoga?
When it comes to cholesterol things get particularly tricky.
Most people aren’t exactly sure what cholesterol really is and, even if they are, there’s a lot of complex information out there that makes knowing how to keep cholesterol under control harder.
In this article we’ll tackle some of the myths that circulate about cholesterol, so you know exactly what you need to do to stay happy and healthy. Let’s go.
Myth #1: All cholesterol is bad cholesterol
Firstly, when we think of cholesterol it’s easy to assume that it’s one thing – and that thing is definitely very bad.
This isn’t quite the case.
There are actually a few different types of cholesterol and, for some of these, it’s important to have more not less. In essence, cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver which carries out a range of important processes in our blood. We all need some cholesterol.
One type of cholesterol however is more beneficial to us than others. HDL cholesterol is the type we should be aiming to increase, whereas LDL cholesterol is the kind we shouldn’t have too much of.
There are also other types of cholesterol that can be problematic. These are all referred to as non-HDL cholesterol. The British Heart Foundation are working hard to fund and lead research into good and bad cholesterol, and working on ways to reduce the risk high cholesterol poses, leading to heart disease and more.
Myth #2: Cholesterol depends on what we eat
Until recently, it was thought that cholesterol gets into our system from the food we eat. As a result, people were told not to eat foods with high levels of cholesterol.
Things like shellfish, avocados and eggs are all high cholesterol foods. Hang on, no avo on toast? Sit tight for a minute.
We now know that our cholesterol levels are not affected by eating foods like this so, when it comes to high cholesterol foods to avoid, it’s more about the type of fat they contain rather than their cholesterol content.
Very good news for avo on toast fanatics.
Foods high in saturated fat will increase our LDL cholesterol levels whereas foods high in unsaturated fat will increase our HDL cholesterol levels.
Myth #3: You’ll know if you have high cholesterol
The problem with having high cholesterol is that you often don’t know about it.
Occasionally people will get external signs, like lumps around their eyes, but most of the time you can be walking around with sky high levels of bad cholesterol and not be aware.
That’s why it’s important to get it checked out by a health professional and see what your levels are. Knowledge is power.
Myth #4: Everyone has high cholesterol – it’s no big deal
It’s easy to feel like this when you hear about cholesterol all the time and talk to other people about their cholesterol levels.
But if you’re relating to this right now, you need to check yourself.
Having high cholesterol has become common – but it’s still just as problematic in the long run. Always take the issue seriously.
Some people in the UK that don’t even know they have a cholesterol disorder but, if you think it could run in the family, you should chat to your doctor. They will also be able to talk to you about the particular risks of having high cholesterol, depending on your health status.
They’ll also tailor advice about options if your cholesterol is raised, including whether you should try medication.
Myth #5: You can completely control your own cholesterol
Taking action to improve your health including reducing LDL cholesterol levels is really important, but it’s worth also noting that cholesterol isn’t only determined by the things we can control.
There are lots of different reasons why you might have problems with cholesterol – including your age, ethnic background and family history. Other health problems, such as an underactive thyroid gland and liver disease, can also cause your levels to go up.
However, we can still make a difference. Cholesterol levels are, in part, determined by diet (see above), not getting enough exercise, smoking and having too much body fat especially around your waist.
So, pull your belt in, and start doing some good.
Myth #6: It’s really difficult to find out my cholesterol levels
This is another important myth that needs busting. And, to be honest, it feels more like an excuse than a myth too.
A lot of people put off checking their cholesterol because they think it’s going to be a very complicated process. In fact, for most people over 40 or 45 (depending on your local area) an NHS Health Check at your local GP surgery should do the trick, and your cholesterol will be checked on the spot.
That means no waiting for blood test results to come back, they can tell you then and there. You don’t need to fast before the test, it’s literally just about booking an appointment and turning up.
This is a really great thing to do as it gives you an overall picture of your health and you’ll get advice on things to improve.
Myth #7: Exercise can’t shift cholesterol
When people think about controlling cholesterol, their mind often turns to changing diet and taking medications.
But exercise is also a really important factor.
Keeping active, whatever your age, can have a significant impact on your cholesterol levels, bringing down bad cholesterol and raising up good cholesterol. The NHS recommends getting at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every week, and that means something that increases your heart rate and gets you out of breath.
Walking to the shop to pick up an avocado doesn’t count.
This should then be combined with exercise that helps strengthen muscles, like yoga, weight lifting or simply carrying heavy shopping bags on your walk home. Then that’s okay.
So, seven myths about cholesterol debunked – with everything you need to know about why they aren’t correct. Now you know the truth about high cholesterol foods, what affects your cholesterol and what you can do about it.
Remember, raised bad cholesterol levels can cause issues in the long term so it’s important to know your status and take action if required. This doesn’t need to mean changing your whole life or living like a monk, small simple changes can make a big impact, keeping you healthy and happy for longer.
The post How to improve your cholesterol: Seven big myths DEBUNKED appeared first on Food For Fitness.
In our Back-to-School Magazine, which you can find here, we shared some of our favorite recipes to help make weeknight cooking easier and keep your time in the kitchen enjoyable. We are thrilled to announce that we have partnered with Blue Apron to bring you three brand new recipes, just in time for fall (and an epic giveaway you don’t want to miss — be sure to read all the way down to the bottom of this post to find more deets).
We all go to the gym for one, ultimate reason: to get results.
But if you’re a gym newbie, or even a long-term lifter stuck in a rut, ensuring you get the most out of each session to achieve your desired results can be problematic.
Maybe you walk into the gym and are overcome with confusion, anxiety – or maybe your workouts are stagnating and uninspiring.
You’ve fallen into the ‘clock in, clock out’ mentality.
Whatever the case, the following eight workout tips are easy to achieve that and will ensure you get your gym journey off to the best possible start – or back on track.
It’s now harder than ever to squeeze in just one solitary hour during the day that we can dedicate to the gym. So, when we do, it’s vital we get maximal returns. If you adopt even a few of the tips below, I’m certain you’ll be walking into the gym more confident than ever and walking out 100% satisfied.
Let’s do this.
Workout tip #1: Train early in the morning
What’s the best thing about getting to the gym before the crack of dawn? Most people are still in bed sleeping.
How does that benefit you?
Well, for starters, it means you won’t have to awkwardly hang about the piece of equipment you want to use, waiting to pounce as soon as it’s free.
When you hit the gym at 6am, you’ll near enough have the place to yourself. It’s dreamy.
There’s no asking to share sets or hover about waiting for the bench press. You simply rock up to your chosen space, sleepy, probably smelling of bed, and crack on with telling those dumbbells the way you really feel about 6am starts.
When you work-out, you want to be in the ‘zone’ – and training at the break of dawn will allow you to do just that. There’s no group chat shenanigans from your friends or emails from the boss trying to grab your attention (they’re still in bed, of course).
You can get your head down and focus on the workout, distraction-free (if you can’t manage to train in the morning, then make sure to switch your phone onto airplane mode when you work-out, to get the same effect).
The benefits of training early continue after your workout as well.
Exercise releases endorphins (the feel-good hormone) into the body and, when you get these rushing through your system, it will help boost your mood and reduce anxiety, both of which will help towards a positive and productive day ahead.
Workout tip #2: Read/study what you are going to train
No matter how many years of training you have under your weight-lifting belt, there will always be something new to learn or a little trick to pick up.
Reading, studying or even watching a workout video about the muscle group/s you’re about to train can be a great way to get your mind focused for your upcoming workouts. It’s also a great way to remind yourself of little training cues and techniques that can make all the difference to your training and results.
After all, knowledge is power, so gather all the knowledge you can and then put it into practice.
Workout tip #3: Plan your workout
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “fail to plan, plan to fail,” and it holds true for your workouts as well.
If you walk into the gym without a plan, it can be easy to stick to ‘comfort zone exercises’, doing what you find easy rather than what will be most beneficial to your goals.
If, however, you pre-plan a workout that includes your sets, reps and exercises to be executed, then you’ll find your sessions are much more productive. You’ll have a clear plan of action, defined goals to hit and you’ll no longer be twiddling your thumbs between exercises, contemplating what to do next.
Just like any other muscle, your brain fatigues the more it’s used. It’s why we’re more likely to make bad food choices in the evening, after a long day at work, and why the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama reduce their decision making needs by wearing very similar – if not identical – clothes every day.
I’m not saying you should chuck out your wardrobe.
But eliminate the decision-making process, write down your workouts and let yourself get fully-focused on your technique and form.
Workout tip #4: Have a personal gym playlist
This is one I’m sure the majority of people already do, but do you know why music appears to make you feel stronger, fitter and less tired when it’s blasting through your headphones?
Research by sport scientists found that listening to your favourite tunes can reduce the rate of perceived effort by 12%, improve endurance by 15% and can even help you gain greater pleasure from exercise.
Further research also found that working out in tempo with your music can increase your levels of work output during repetitive tasks.
In fact, music can have such a positive impact on performance that, in 2007, The American Track & Field USA, the national governing body for distance racing, banned the use of headphones and portable audio players at its official races, in order to prevent runners gaining a competitive edge.
Workout tip #5: Have a gym partner
Let’s face it, we don’t always feel motivated to get to the gym, but when you know you’ve got someone relying on you to turn up, it becomes much more difficult to skip your workout.
Gym partners are great for accountability, but it’s not the only benefit of a lifting buddy.
Having someone to spot and encourage you through a set can help you push harder and lift a little heavier than you would have otherwise on your own.
If possible, try and have a training partner that is just that little bit stronger and more experienced than you. This will keep you pushing to get better and means you’ll learn as you lift.
Workout tip #6: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate…
Making sure you’re well hydrated isn’t just for the hour you spend in the gym. To get the most out of your workouts, you’ll want to make sure you’re well hydrated before, during and after training.
If you go into a workout dehydrated then your core temperature will rise quicker and your heart will have to pump harder than usual, which can decrease performance and lead to heat stroke.
And no-one wants that at 6am in the morning.
Drinking during your workout is vital to replace the fluids lost through sweat and breathing, which can be up to as much as two litres per hour. Not replacing these fluids will lead to a significant drop in energy and could lead to cramps.
Once you’re done, keep that water bottle close-by. Drinking after your workout will help your body cool down and transport vital nutrients to your muscles to help them start to repair and grow.
Workout tip #7: Train on an empty stomach
If you follow tip number one, then this hack will be easy to implement – it’s just a case of get up and go.
If, however, you need to train later on on the day then make sure you don’t have any food digesting in your stomach. For large meals, leave 3-4 hours before walking onto the gym floor and for small meals, leave 1-3 hours.
If food is still being digested in your stomach when training, then your body is going to try and divide your blood supply between your organs and your extremities.
When your body is trying to digest food, whilst at the same time, rushing blood into your muscles, it’s only going to cause your performance to suffer and leave you feeling groggy at best.
Now you know the reason your mum always warned you not to swim on a full stomach.
Just note that training on an empty stomach won’t do any wonders for additional fat burning. That’s still (and always will be) down to a calorie deficit, but that’s for an entirely different article altogether.
Workout tip #8: Have an ice cold shower
There’s no two ways about it, submerging yourself in a shower of freezing cold water sucks (unless you’re Wim Hof), but that is exactly why you should do it.
Putting yourself through controlled difficult situations is a great way to strengthen your mental resilience and willpower.
It means, when you get to that set of heavy squats, you’ll be better equipped mentally to deal with the discomfort and keep pushing for those few extra reps that make all the difference.
It may be a tough habit to commit to and uncomfortable to endure, but those few minutes under the icy cold water, will supercharge your mind and workouts like nothing else.
Implement these now, perfect them later
These tips are all habits that I have included in my own routine, some of which I’ve been doing for years and others just over the last few months. Nonetheless, I’ve found them all to have a positive impact on my training and/or mindset.
You may want to try all the above tips above or maybe just pick out a few that you think will have the biggest impact on your training right from the off. It all comes down to a little trial and error to see what works best for you.
Do you already use some of the above tips in your own routine?
Let me know and share your experiences on how they’ve helped your gym performance and boost your mental fortitude.
See you on the floor.