Things not to do after a workout.

  • Forget to hydrate

So many people are dehydrated to some degree most of the time. It is recommended that you drink about 30-35ml of water per kg of body weight each day. You should also take in an extra 500-1000ml for every hour of exercise. It is quite clear that if you lose a lot of liquid through sweating, it needs to be replaced.

 

  • Eating too many calories

Eating a load of empty calories post workout is a really bad idea. Because of the strain that you have put on your body during exercise, it is good to eat something easy-to-digest. Protein, carbohydrates and a small amount of healthy fats are perfect for starting muscle repair and nutrient replacement.

 

  • Not stretching

STRETCH!

Both before and after a workout. I don’t need to say more.

Just do it!

 

  • Doing nothing else for the rest of the day

Don’t think for a second that doing a workout session allows you to spend the rest of the day on the sofa doing nothing. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the odd lazy day; just don’t make a habit of it. Try making movement a part of your day. Use the stairs instead of the lift, get up from your desk for a quick walk every hour.

 

 

 

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Habits that slow down your metabolism.

It is a generally accepted fact that your metabolism slows as you age. Recent studies published in the Public Health Nutrition Journal backs this up with science. There are however other habits that you may have that increase this slowing. Drop some of these habits to take the fight back to the ageing process.

Skipping Breakfast.

During sleep the metabolism slows, breakfast is known to kick start it again. Though potentially counter intuitive, eating first thing in the morning can actually cause you to burn more calories during the day. When you eat breakfast you are letting your body know that there are many calories coming throughout the day, thereby telling it to start burning them. If you skip breakfast you are instead saying to your body that it should conserve energy as it may not be getting fed.

Choosing the wrong breakfast though, can also be a mistake. Try to avoid having an overly sugary breakfast a this will likely cause you to crash later in the day. Try going for a high protein or fibre breakfast such as eggs or whole-wheat toast.

Sitting too much.

Spending long periods sat down not only causes problems in that it does not allow you to get much exercise; it is also thought to directly lead to a slower metabolism. If you work in a sedentary job, sat at a desk all day, try to get up and have a bit of a walk every hour or so. Similarly, consider whether you need to go from couch to car or if you could instead walk to your destination.

Too little protein.

Protein is very important for your muscles, it is the food they need to maintain themselves. Muscle is very important to metabolism, in fact, it is known that metabolism is directly linked to muscle mass. A pound of muscle burns around 4-6 more calories per day than a pound of fat. Therefore it is a no-brainer to keep your muscles in tip-top shape, this means giving them all the protein they need. If you are finding it difficult to maintain a healthy weight, or build muscle mass, consider whether you are getting enough protein in your diet.

A lack of water.

As I have mentioned before, water is miraculous in what it can do to our bodies. Researchers have found that 500 millilitres of water can increase metabolic rate by up to 30%, with that spike lasting over an hour. Keeping yourself hydrated also comes with this calorie burning benefit.

Stress.

Stress can cause all manner of problems, not least a reduction in metabolic rate. This reduction is caused by the increase in Cortisol that comes from higher levels of stress. Cortisol increases our cravings for sugary foods, and decreases our motivation to exercise. Both of these, as already discussed, have a direct bearing on our metabolic rate. So, although stress does not itself decrease the metabolism, it leads to behaviours that are known to.

Although it is not always easy easy to control stress levels, and no-one gets stressed because they want to; managing stress can really help boost your metabolism.

My food day.

There is a lot of press around these days about what you should and should not eat. Warnings about the levels of fat, or salt, or sugar or whatever else may have some negative effects; maybe. I will absolutely not argue that a diet of wine, cheese and processed meats is not great for you. What I will argue however is that there are benefits other than the easily measurable physiological ones. The joy of eating a grilled cheese sandwich, or some chocolate for instance; will leave you feeling happy. Something that has a high level of value, for me anyway. That isn’t to say that I don’t think you should try to be healthy with your food, just that there are more things to think about.

I eat a very small amount of red meat during the week in general, in part because of living on my own and the difficulty in getting reasonable portions for one person. But I have no issue in eating red meat, in fact I enjoy it greatly. Every Saturday my parents come around for chilli con carne, which of course contains beef.

Below is an example of a typical day’s food for me.

Breakfast

Smoked salmon and cream cheese on crumpets.

A glass of fruit juice and a cup of coffee.

Lunch

I rarely eat much for lunch when I’m not at work, I’ll usually stick to something quick and simple such as Soup and crusty bread.

Dinner

If I only had a small meal at lunch time then I will have something more substantial for dinner. Some sort of pasta dish is common, often with some variety of fish.

Snacks

I do of course get hungry between meals on occasion, and although I do like things such as chocolate I try to avoid eating them too often.

One of my favourite go to snacks is houmous with either carrot sticks or sugarsnap peas.

This is just an example of what I would eat on any given day. I’m not saying it is the best diet, nor is it something that would work for everybody. It just happens to work for me.

I think the best thing for anyone to do when looking at their diet is to pay attention to what your body is telling you. The recommended diet is designed for the average person, and in my experience the average person doesn’t exist. Eat and drink what you like, in moderation. If you notice yourself putting on some unwanted weight, change things. The same if you find you are not feeling well, or if your physical performance is suffering.

No one knows your body better than you.

Improve your walking.

As little as half an hour of walking per day has been proven to improve mood, reduce stress, increase bone density and more. Turning your daily walks into a workout, however, requires a bit more effort than just going for a gentle stroll.

One of the easiest ways you can increase the calorie burning effect of your walks is by playing with the pace. Add some intervals to your walks to see some serious belly fat burning. 2 minutes of low intensity walking, followed by 2 minutes of high intensity, then 30 seconds of jogging will really get the heart racing. This sort of workout forces the body to constantly adjust, using more energy and blasting that fat in the process.

As well as varying the pace, why not try a new route? Pick one with plenty of variation in altitude and terrain. Walking both up and down hill uses different muscles than walking on the flat, try to include some inclines for the best muscle boosting walks. Similarly, diffent terrains have differing effects on your muscles, add some sand or gravel segments to give that added boost to your regime.

It is quite obvious that the more muscle groups you use while exercising, the more energy expenditure there will be. Therefore, try doing something with your arms while walking. Just adding an active bend to them while they naturally swing will help, or you could carry some small hand weights with you to supercharge the exercise.

Is just walking enough?

In an era where high intensity fitness programs are king, is there a place for just taking a walk?

The answer, thankfully, is simple. Yes.

Walking is a great way to improve fitness and, as long as it creates a calorie deficit, a good way to loose weight. Walking has many upsides compared with more intense form of exercise that it is worth adding to any routine.

One of its greatest benefits is that, compared to most other forms of exercise, it has almost zero negative impact on your body long term. Walking is very easy on your knees.

Walking is also completely free and needs no special equipment. Even the humble jog requires running shoes.

Walking is an easy way to hit your daily exercise targets, and can be used to add some much needed cardio into your day. This is really helpful for those who spend a lot of their exercise time in the gym. Just fitting some runs in throughout the day will provide an extra level of fitness.

In all, walking is a great way to stay in shape. It is certainly not the only way, and it should not be solely relied on if you are looking for strength and muscle tone. Whether integrated into an already established regime, or the start of a new one. Walking is certainly a good place to start.