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.

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.

The benefits of water. According to science.

The human body is roughly 60% water. The common recommendation is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. This particular figure does not have a great deal of science behind it, staying hydrated is however important.

Here are a selection of evidence-based health benefits of staying hydrated.

Maximum physical performance.

Physical performance can suffer greatly from a lack of hydration.

During intense exercise or while exercising in high heat this is even more the case.

Losing as little as 2% of your body’s water content can have a noticeable effect on you. It is not uncommon for athletes to lose anywhere up to 10% of their water weight through sweating, therefore adequate hydration is vital.

Even though the body as a whole is 60% water, muscle is around 80%, so water intake is far more important when the muscles are being worked hard.

Help with weight loss.

Drinking half a litre of water has been shown to increase metabolism by 24-30% for up to an hour and a half after drinking it.

That means that drinking 2 litres of water a day can up your energy expenditure by almost 100 calories per day.

Drinking water half an hour before a meal has been shown to decrease the the amount of food you eat at meal times by making you feel fuller. In one study, dieters who drank half a litre of water before meals lost an average of 44% more weight over the course of 12 weeks.

For the biggest benefit, water should be drunk cold. This way the body burns more calories to heat the water to body temperature.

Brain function.

Fluid loss of as little as 1.3% has been shown to impair brain function. Especially affected are concentration and mood. Other studies have shown that similar levels of fluid loss have had a detrimental affect on working memory and increased feelings of fatigue and anxiety.

Loss levels this low are to be expected in just day to day life, if putting high heat and exercise into the mix it is clear that improper hydration can have big effects on your health.

Further reading.

Below are some links to some of the studies and evidence mentioned in this post.

NCBI – Hydration and physical performance

NCBI – Water, Hydration and health

NCBI – Dehydration influences mood and cognition

NCBI – water induced thermogenesis

Nutrition.org – Healthy hydration guide

Fall in love with running.

So many people have told me that they hate running. This is something that is completely at odds with my view of the activity. I love running, though this was not always the case. I have always been good at running, but for a long time it felt like a chore. Like something that I knew would benefit me, but that I did not really feel like doing ever.

5 minutes into a run I would find myself looking at my watch, bored, wondering if I could just give up now there and then. The key to falling in love with running is to defeat this boredom factor.

I first found myself enjoying running when I started to properly challenge myself. I don’t mean setting myself overly difficult goals. Starting out with nice achievable yet challenging goals is a great way to add some interest into your running. Setting a time, maybe as little as 10 minutes, and trying to push to run further each time can be a fun little challenge. This sort of running has the added benefit of making improvement easy to follow.

Using achievable goals makes you feel great when you reach them. Setting goals that are too challenging has the opposite effect and is often what puts off new runners. When starting out, establishing a habit is the key thing. Use these small goals to help you make a habit of running, once you have that, committing to your first big milestone is the next step.

Some people also find that running in a group is a great way to add motivation. Group running has many benefits, the other members will help push you towards your goals and it is great from a social standpoint. I have personally always struggled with group running, I have found the differences in pacing to be difficult to get around. Group exercising of other types however, I have found to be very effective, so I feel that as long as the group members have a similar level of ability there is benefit to be had.

So, if you are someone that thinks they hate running, maybe give it another chance. Pop out with a group of people and set yourself an achievable goal and most importantly don’t give up.