Is there a drug free way to LOWER Cholesterol?

Is There A Healthier Way To Improve Your Cholesterol Levels?

Before we get to how Omega 3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA may improve cholesterol levels lets discuss something even more important.

1 in 5 people are affected by this and you may be that one person if not now in the near future. It is called Metabolic Syndrome. Some studies estimate the prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome in the US to be up to 25% of the population. That is 1 in 4 people. I’m absolutely sure the UK population is similar with 40% on diets at any one time, and obesity a current plague.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical symptoms and issues such as increased blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, abnormal or high cholesterol levels and generally excess body fat around the waist or belly area.

This all increases your risk for cardiovascular disease and of course diabetes. Usually if someone has metabolic syndrome they most likely to get diabetes in the near future if they don’t make significant changes to their lifestyle and habits.

We also know that omega 3 fats have been heavily studied over the years because of the numerous benefits that it provides. As far back as the 70s scientists noticed that those who consume a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids had a very low rate of heart attacks.

There have been thousands of studies since then learning about these powerful fats and how they can benefit us. One such recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition hypothesized that if someone ate a low fat, high complex carb diet, but supplemented with fish oil that this may affect the participants cholesterol levels in patients who had metabolic syndrome.

The scientists studied 117 metabolic syndrome patients and randomly assigned them to 1 of 5 diets for 12 weeks.

1. Diet high in saturated fat
2. Diet high in monounsaturated fat
3. Diet low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates
4. Diet low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates and also supplemented with omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA)
5. Placebo

At the end of the 12 weeks both those who consumed the diet high in monounsaturated fat and the diet that was low fat/high in carbs and supplemented with the omega 3 fatty acids had lower triglyceride levels than the other groups.
Triglycerides play a key role in your overall cholesterol number and tend to be higher when you eat high carbohydrates, are insulin resistant and have metabolic syndrome. What is interesting that even though they ate a high carbohydrate diet which with metabolic syndrome would make their triglyceride levels worse the omega 3 fats seemed to lower it.

It will be interesting when they test this theory for a longer length of time and see if the triglyceride levels stay low.

Jax ©

13 points that will help you lose fat FAST

Here is a 13-point punch list of what the research revealed
and how it relates to YOU gaining muscle and losing fat

1 At least a small amount of lean body mass is usually lost along with body fat

2 If lean body mass is lost, the amount of lean body mass lost is highly correlated to the size and severity of the calorie deficit

3 Very aggressive calorie deficits and low calorie diets tend to erode lean body mass to a greater degree than more conservative diets.

4 The amount of lean body mass lost is based on initial body fat level

5 Lean people tend to lose more lean body mass and retain more fat.

6 Fat people tend to lose more body fat and retain more lean tissue

7 Because obese people retain more lean and lose more fat tissue, this reveals why they can tolerate aggressive low calorie diets better than lean people

8 The usable energy in fat is different than the usable energy in muscle tissue. A pound of muscle is not 3500 calories. A pound of muscle yields about 600 calories.

9 If you create a 3500 calorie deficit in one week and you lose 100% body fat, you will lose one pound.

10 If you create a 3500 calorie weekly deficit and as a result of that deficit, lose 100% muscle, you would lose almost 6 pounds of body weight! (of course, if you somehow manage to lose 100% muscle, you will be forced to wear the Dieter’s Dunce cap)

11 If you have a high initial body fat percentage, then you are going to lose more fat relative to lean, so you may need a larger deficit to lose the same amount of weight as compared to a lean person.

12 Progressive resistance training can modify the proportion of weight lost from body fat versus lean tissue.

13 Higher protein diets can modify the proportion of weight lost from body fat versus lean tissue

I’m not sure if scientific research fascinates you or bores you to tears, but all I can say is that this information is priceless! This provides us with almost everything we need to know in order to settle the controversy. It tells us EXACTLY what to do to reduce the risk of muscle lose during dieting and lose 100% pure fat.
It is possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time….. just ask some of my campers!

Jax ©

The Worst Advice Ever !

the worse diet advice ever:

1) Low fat diets are good for you…

Some fats are actually good for you and your body needs them.

The body needs fat for energy, tissue repair and to transport
vitamins A, D, E and K around the body.

Don’t try and follow a low fat diet. Instead eat plenty of unsaturated
fats (and even some saturated fats that are good for you).

2) Diet foods can help you drop pounds…

Wrong again.

Diet foods can actually make you fatter.

You may be doing yourself more harm than good by scanning labels for
the lowest calorie and fat counts.

Prepackaged diet foods can have a lot of sugar and trans fat.

3) The more you cut calories, the more weight you’ll lose…

A lot of people make this mistake and they’ll gain weight in the
long run.

Cut your calories too far—below 1,000 a day—and you’ll end up
decreasing your metabolism and muscle mass.

To get the most out of the calories you do eat, choose whole foods
such as fruits and vegetables, lean meat and fish, raw nuts and whole
grains that are as close to their natural state as possible.

They have a higher “nutrient density” than refined foods, because
they pack more vitamins and minerals into fewer calories.

So make sure you DON’T follow the diet myths presented above and
that you DO follow the best diet advice found here in this presentation:

Jax 24/3/11 ©

Make Your Work Station Posture Friendly

Make Your Work Area Posture Friendly

So many of us work at the computer these days. It’s critical that we adjust the workspace so it encourages good posture. If your computer screen is positioned too low, you’ll tend to look down at it, which fosters a forward neck and head posture. Bring it up to eye level. What about your mouse? If it’s too far forward and you have to reach to get it, again, you’re pushing the body into a forward slump.
Bring the mouse and keyboard back to where you can comfortably reach them, or move your chair forward. Make sure you have a good ergonomic chair, one that supports your back and fits your height and body structure, and preferably one with armrests. Wrist rests on your keyboard are also a good idea, as they help support the weight of your hands.
Position the screen and the keyboard directly in front of you, so you don’t have to rotate your neck or lower back. When typing, your fingers should rest easy on the keyboard with your elbows bent at 90-degree angles.

Don’t forget to get up at least once an hour to walk around, stretch, and loosen up. Get a glass of water, take a walk outside, perform a handful of stretches, or visit a colleague—anything to get your body moving.

Belly Fat and Sleep Linked

The Surprising Link Between Belly Fat And Sleep

Is it true? – belly fat will increase if I don’t get enough sleep, can this be true? And if so, will sleeping more help me lose weight more quickly?

The short answer is NO. Sleeping more, on it’s own, is not going to help you lose weight.

However, strange as it might sound, there’s a growing body of evidence to show that better sleep habits are instrumental to the success of any weight loss plan.

Let me explain why…
In the last 40 years, many adults have cut their average sleep time by nearly two hours. Before bedroom tv, never ending emails and work pressures adults slept an average of 8.5 hours a night. By 2002, that had fallen to less than seven hours a night.
Over the same period, the proportion of young adults sleeping less than seven hours more than doubled. Now, less than one out of four young adults sleeps eight hours a night.
And this lack of sleep appears to have a rather damaging effect on your waistline. Here’s an extract from a recent article….
Sleeping fewer than five hours per night or more than eight hours per night was associated with higher concentrations of belly fat and increased body mass index (BMI) during the five-year study period compared with participants who slept six to seven hours per night.
Although there are a number of studies showing a link between sleep deprivation and weight gain, the one I want to take a closer look at was published in the journal Sleep.
A team from the Obesity Research Centre at Columbia analysed data on 18,000 people aged between 32 and 59 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during the 1980s.
Even after factors such as depression, physical activity, alcohol consumption, ethnicity, level of education, age and gender had been taken into account, people were more likely to be obese the less sleep they had.
While those who had less than four hours sleep were most at risk, people who got only five hours of sleep were 50% more likely to be obese than those who were getting a full night’s rest.
“The results are somewhat counterintuitive,” says lead author Dr. James Gangwisch, “since people who sleep less are naturally burning more calories.”
“But we think it has more to do with what happens to your body when you deprive it of sleep as opposed to the amount of physical activity that you get.”
And Dr. Stephen Heymsfield, who also worked on the study, says it was not as simple as saying that if people were awake for longer, they were likely to eat more.
“The metabolic regulatory system may have evolved to motivate humans to store fat during summer months when the nights are shorter and food is plentiful, which was a survival mechanism for the body to prepare for the dark winter months when food would not be as plentiful.
“As a result, sleeping less could serve as a trigger to the body to increase food intake and store fat.”
Sleep deprivation appears to contribute to weight gain by disrupting the hormones that control your eating habits and metabolism. Specifically, sleep loss appears to have a big impact on a hormone called leptin.
One of Leptin’s main roles is to let your brain know how fat you are.
Leptin levels normally rise when you sleep. But during periods of sleep deprivation, low leptin levels tell the brain there is a shortage of food. The result is that you end up feeling VERY hungry.

In one trial, diabetes researcher Eve van Cauter and her research group investigated sleep deprivation’s effects on leptin more closely [6].
The study involved 11 healthy 22-year-old men who spent 16 consecutive nights in the University of Chicago’s sleep laboratory. For six days they got just four hours of sleep — their week of sleep deprivation.

The men’s food and activity levels were strictly regulated and hormone levels were taken during the day and while they slept. Their sleep was also monitored to make sure they followed the study’s guidelines.
After two nights of only four hours a night had an 19% drop in leptin. As I mentioned earlier, when leptin levels are low, hunger tends to increase.

You can see the effect on leptin in the figure below, which shows the change in leptin levels over a 24-hour period after either 4 hours or 12 hours in bed.

The volunteers also reported a surge in desire for sweets, such as candy and biscuits, salty foods such as crisps and nuts, and starchy foods such as bread and pasta. Some volunteers were asking for up to 1,000 calories more per day.

At the same time, the added difficulty of making decisions while sleepy may weaken your motivation to select more nutritious foods, making it harder to push away the doughnuts in favour of a healthy yoghurt.

“We are all under pressure to perform, in school, at work, in social and professional settings, and tempted by multiple diversions. There is a sense that you can pack in more of life by skimping on sleep. But we are finding that people tend to replace reduced sleep with added calories, and that’s not a healthy trade.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, and you’ve tried all the usual stuff like keeping your bedroom dark, avoiding caffeine in the evening, turning off the TV one hour before you go to bed, one alternative to sleeping pills (which can leave you feeling tired and groggy) is Valerian root. Reaching for Night Nurse, Cough Nurse will not help you either…
Valerian, native to the Americas, Asia, and Europe has been used for thousands of years to ease insomnia, stress-related anxiety, and nervous restlessness.

Studies also show that Valerian reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. It also seems to improve the quality of sleep itself. Unlike many prescription sleep aids, Valerian has fewer effects the next day, such as morning drowsiness.
Personally, I’ve found that 2-3 capsules of Valerian root extract (try those made by Solgar) is enough to help sleep. If you do plan to use it, make sure to check for possible interactions with medications, as well as other precautions regarding its use.
So what’s the bottom line here?
None of this means that sleeping for less than six hours each night is a guarantee that you’ll gain weight. Nor does it mean that sleeping for longer will automatically cause you to lose weight.

What it DOES mean is that a lack of sleep is going to make it a lot harder to control your appetite, especially for high carbohydrate “junk foods” like sweets, cookies, and cakes. Plus, although you might crave a stodgy porridge breakfast – and your body can deal with carbs best in the morning – is that choice going to get you where you want to be next week, next month or next year? Probably not!

And it’s your subsequent increase in calories, rather than the lack of sleep, that’s responsible for your weight gain.

Sort out your bedroom, have a relaxing bath, turn off the TV and Laptop and chill – read a novel listen to restful music for the last hour before you try to sleep.

Jax© 23/3/11

Managing and Preventing Knee Pain

Managing and Preventing Knee Pain.

Do these exercises even if you have no pain but feel tight in your hips, ankles – perhaps you tend to land on your toes when you lunge forward or you find it hard to sit back in a squat.

1). Mobilise Hips
this means circling through your hips; bringing your hip up to your chest, and swinging your leg side to side across your body.

2). Mobilise Ankles
this means standing facing a wall and bending one knee at a time to push your knee towards the wall. When you can achieve this place a thin book under your toes and repeat.

Add these exercises into your warm up and repeat them on your non-training days.

3). Fire Up your Glutes
a) tie a resistance band around your ankles and take shuffle steps side to side for about a minute.

4). Active Release Therapy
a) foam roll the side of your thighs and lower legs
b) massage the same areas of your legs

5). Strengthen your Quads
Improve the strength of your thighs through lunges, squats. Fast and slow movements with added resistance.

6). Strengthen your Glutes
Improve control and strength of bottom as above.

7). Stretch Quads and Calves
Always after training, and as part of your non training day routine.

8). Always Always Always warm up
even if you feel warm, even if you’re used to exercise. Even if you think you’ll just take it ‘steady’ for the first few minutes instead. You need to mobilise joints, warm up your muscles and prepare fully for the work to follow.

9). Add some vertical jumps to your routine
The vertical jump is actually a great test and exercise to utilize. Jump up in the air and try to minimize the sound when you hit the ground. Land with soft knees, soft feet, and lower into a half squat to absorb the force. I’m not trying to make you into an elite athlete with this

10). Get your body in proper alignment!
Check your hip flexors are long
Check your quads ( the middle one) is long
If you think your quads are tight – ask for me how to check them…

11). Eat an anti-inflammatory diet

12). Take joint supporting supplements
like glucosamine with chondroitin, fish oils and anti-oxidents

13). Stretch your Hamstrings and calves
There you have it the way to look after your knees jax©

Joint Pain – Solve It

Joint Pain – How to Solve It
Almost all chronic joint pain or overuse injuries are caused by tightness and restrictions in the muscles above and below the joint in question.
In other words, it’s not about PAIN SITE… it’s about PAIN SOURCE!!

Knee pain is often caused by restrictions in the tissue of your calves and front/inner/outer thighs.

Back pain is often caused by restrictions in your glutes and hamstrings.

Shoulder pain is often caused by restrictions in your thoracic spine (T-Spine), chest, and lats.

Tissue quality describes the general health of your muscles and the interconnected web of fascia that surrounds them all.
Over time we develop scar tissue, adhesions, knots, and trigger points due to high-intensity training, overuse, and/or extended periods of sitting.
The best way to address this is to self-massage sore, tight, and restricted muscle groups of the body to regenerate tissue both pre and post-workout to promote injury reduction and allow for a smoother, more productive workout.

In addition, self-massage before stretching allows for a better, more complete stretch by smoothing out the knots so always precede flexibility work with soft tissue work for best results.

I have found the following 5 self-massage exercises to be of the highest priority for the general population:
1.) Quad/Rectus Femoris: Tightness in the middle of the front thigh is a primary cause of anterior knee pain, often referred to as jumper’s knee, or general patella-femoral issues like chondromalacia patella. For a person with a history of knee pain, NEVER skip massaging this area before a workout.

2.) Mid Glute/Piriformis: Restriction in the outer hip often causes tightness in the lower back and in extreme situations leads to sciatica, that burning or tingling sensation one feels from the back all the way down to the leg. Since we sit on our butt all days at work, it’s critical to release the glutes before an intensive workout.

3.) ITB/Vastus Lateralis: Restriction and over-development of the outer thigh causes an unwanted lateral tracking of the patella that leads to lateral knee pain, often referred to as runner’s knee, and wearing of the knee cartilage. People will experience the most pain with this area of the body then any other upon introduction to foam rolling.

4.) Pec Minor: The pec minor (small chest muscle just inside the shoulder) is like the hip flexor of the upper body and when it gets tight/overactive it leads to excessive internal rotation of the humerus which leads to shoulder impingement syndrome or shoulder biceps tendinosis.

5.) T-Spine: When the upper/mid back is restricted, it leads to poor posture and a host of issues including shoulder and back pain. Plus, being in a hunched position at a desk all day makes this exercise an absolute must to best counteract kyphosis (excessive rounding) of the upper back.

Below is an outline of our 30 secs work :10secs rest tissue quality circuit in our UNBREAKABLE BODY sessions in Cheltenham Glos.
Soft Tissue Release/Massage Exercise Circuit
30:10 Tissue Quality
1 Pec Minor (L)
2 Pec Minor (R)
3 Quad/Rectus Femoris (L)
4 Quad/Rectus Femoris (R)
5 Mid Glute/Piriformis (L)
6 Mid Glute/Piriformis (R)
7 VMO/Adductors/Femoral Triangle (L)
8 VMO/Adductors/Femoral Triangle (R)
9 ITB/Vastus Lateralis (L)
10 ITB/Vastus Lateralis (R)
11 Hamstrings
12 Calves
13 Shins/Peroneals
14 Upper/Mid/Lower Back/T-Spine
15 Lats/Rear Shoulder/Triceps (L)
16 Lats/Rear Shoulder/Triceps (R)
One on One sessions are available if you want to learn how to tackle your tissue quality, mobility and flexibility

I’m a big fan of a relative pain scale when it comes to self-massage, for example:
– Using a relative pain/restriction scale of 1-10,
“1” being no pain/restriction and “10” being the worst pain/restriction in the world.
Please check the appropriate box for each self-massage exercise below whenever you feel pain/restriction that is greater than a 5 out of 10
– Your fitness homework is to religiously perform all self-massage exercises that were a 5 or greater on the pain/restriction scale both pre-workout and several times post-workout every day
– For best results and injury prevention, perform this entire 30-10 tissue quality circuit at least once per week using a foam roller, tennis ball, softball, and/or massage stick (rolling pin) where best applicable
Massage is one of those counter-intuitive things whereby you are actually actively searching for pain.
In fact, it’s the only time to ever do so when it comes to proper training.
The best analogy I can give you is this:
If it hurts that much when you put pressure on your muscles, just imagine how bad your joints must feel!!

Back Pain? Other Pain?

Back Pain? Other Pain?

Balance Your Nutrition No matter what kind of pain you’re suffering from—tissue-based, nerve-based, or both—you’re going to make your situation better by improving your diet. I’m not going to tell you to give up eating the things you love to eat. But I do want to emphasize just how important your nutrition is to your ability to live without pain. Just try one or more of the tips below. (The more you do, the better you’ll feel.) Try it for just seven days and see if it helps you feel better.

Tip #1: Drink More Water
Water helps the body in so many ways. The discs in the spine are made up mostly of water. When we drink more, we re-inflate those discs after they’ve been depleted throughout the day. Water helps eliminate toxins from the body and promotes more efficient kidney function. Flushing toxins out on a regular basis can help prevent trigger points from forming and reduce the severity of those already present in the muscle tissues.
Drinking water helps joints function more smoothly, because it cushions the muscles and provides more support for the body’s movement. The “eight glasses a day” rule is a good general guideline, but remember, everyone is different. Everyone has a different weight, metabolism, and activity level, so you need to experiment with what’s right for you. When you’re exercising, drink more, as your body will use more. If you sit at a computer several hours a day, make it a point to get up every hour and get another glass of water. Try drinking a full glass before you start your day in the morning and a full glass with dinner at night. Replace sugary soft drinks with water to reduce empty calorie intake. The best way to judge if you’re getting enough water is to check the color of your urine. It may not be a glamorous activity, but it’s an easy way to see if you’re body is hydrated. The middle of the day is the best time. A pale yellow to clear color is best, so if you’re seeing a deep yellow, drink more.(Remember that some supplements will darken your urine) Consuming healthy amounts of water may not completely eliminate your pain, but it’s likely to help. It’s easy, healthy, and free, so why not try it? It’s nothing more than a habit. If you spend a week drinking more water, you will very likely find your body feeling better and craving the higher water intake.

Tip #2: Take a High-Quality Multivitamin
The best advice for anyone experiencing back problems is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. But for many of us, this is a tall order. We often don’t have time to cook homemade meals because we’re on the go all the time, and even if we do eat a good amount of fruits and vegetables, unless they are organic or we grow them ourselves, we can never be sure of their nutrient content. And even then, most produce is grown in nutritionally depleted soils, so no matter how healthy you eat, you still are likely to have nutritional deficiencies. So, to give the body the nutrients it needs to help reduce inflammation and ease back pain, I recommend that all my clients take a high-quality multivitamin—emphasis on high quality. There are a lot of pills out there that aren’t going to do you much good. Many companies manufacture products that are highly compressed and glued together into hard tablets that can be very difficult for the body to digest. You can visualize the process. Imagine if you took a bunch of different vitamins in powder form—pressed them all together, slammed it flat, processed it through a bunch of machines, added binding ingredients to keep it together, sprinkled in preservatives so it would last for months on the shelf, and then spit it out as this hardened, rock-like pill. Would your body get much good out of that? That’s how most multivitamins and supplements are produced. The less processing they go through, the better. The problem is, most people just look at the price and go for the cheapest brand. But in the world of supplements, you often get what you pay for. If you want something that’s actually going to help your body stay healthy—and help reduce pain—invest in a product that’s highly digestible. This probably means you’re going to have to take more pills to get a full dose. For example, if you don’t smash and press all the nutrients together, they take up more volume, and so a full dose will have to be spread across multiple pills. Keep in mind that in these cases your vitamin dosage isn’t necessarily higher, it’s just uncompressed, which makes it much easier to digest. The vitamins are much more likely to be absorbed by your body. Remember, it’s not how many vitamins you ingest that matters, it’s how many your body can actually absorb and use. Look for a quality multivitamin that exceeds the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals, as the RDA is often inadequate for optimal heath. Avoid those that come in tablet form and choose instead liquids, soft-gel caplets, or capsules.

Tip #3: Balance Your Nutrition
I have talked about inflammation and how much it contributes to pain, my food lists give you options to avoid inflammatory foods. Our modern-day diet, full of processed and nutritionally void foods, triggers an increase of inflammation in our bodies, until we’re overloaded with it. Inflammation creates pain in our muscles, nerves, and joints, and it can be a big factor in all kinds of pain. What we need are more of the nutrients that cool inflammation down (found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish) and more of our own natural anti-inflammatories—the proteolytic enzymes that stop inflammation and clear out scar tissue. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t eating enough anti-inflammatory nutrients, and as we get older, our bodies make fewer anti-inflammatory enzymes.

So, first, as I mentioned, we need to eat a healthy diet and take a quality multivitamin in order to give our bodies the nutrients needed to counteract the inflammation response.

Second, balance your nutrition, we need to replenish the body with more of its own natural anti-inflammatory enzymes. When we do this, two things happen: We cool inflammation and we clear out the stiffening scar tissue that it leaves behind. That means less pain and more fluidity in movement, since scar tissue is what makes us feel stiff in the first place. It’s best to find a supplement that combines enzymes and herbs in a formula targeted to reduce inflammation and pain. Look at the “other ingredients” listed below the supplement facts and avoid animal derivatives, preservatives, or artificial things like titanium dioxide.

Tip #4: Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Many of the foods we’re eating today actually promote inflammation. You want to avoid eating these as much as possible or at least limit the amount in your daily diet. These include processed foods, fatty foods, high-sugar items, and refined grains.

Processed foods. Foods filled with preservatives and processed with chemicals present foreign elements into the body. The immune system sees these ingredients as a threat and revs up inflammation to “defend” against them. In addition, foods stripped of their natural goodness during processing—like white flour—break down too quickly and spike hormone levels, again encouraging inflammation.
Minimize the amount of refined grains you consume, and eat raw fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a healthy second option. Fresh and frozen meats are much less likely to promote inflammation than those processed in ready-made meals.

Fatty foods. Remember, not all fats are bad for you. But even too much of a good fat is no good. The fats you want to avoid completely are partially or fully hydrogenated fats, trans fats, and vegetable oils. These fats tip the scales toward inflammation, mainly because they throw off the body’s natural balance of fats. Reduce your intake of these items and choose instead meats such as grass-fed (and free range) beef, chicken, and turkey; wild-caught (not farm-raised) fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and cod; nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews; and beans. These types of foods contribute the healthier omega-3 fats, helping the body fight off inflammation. (An omega-3 supplement is also a good idea.)

High-sugar items. High amounts of sugar cause the body to release regulating hormones, which encourage inflammation. Sugar is everywhere in our food supply, so to help reduce pain, really watch your intake. Drink soft drinks and sugary fruit juices in small amounts (or not at all), and use water, teas (hot and iced), low-sugar coffees (avoid high-impact cappuccinos), almond or rice milk, and seltzer waters instead. Eat fewer cakes, cookies, doughnuts, candies, sugary cereals, and pies, and try fruit desserts, frozen yoghurt. Finally, look at your everyday foods. Soups, sauces, ketchup, cereals, applesauce, drink mixes, snack bars, and more all can have extra sugar added. Choose organic options. When you do use sugar, look for raw, unrefined varieties.

Refined grains. Processed or refined grains are found in flour, cereals, breads, baked goods, and snack foods. Usually they’re listed as “enriched” flour or anything other than “whole.” In essence, refined grains have been broken down for you, so your body doesn’t have to do the work. Since the grain then breaks down too quickly in the body and the intestines, it releases hormones that promote inflammation. Choose foods made with whole grains, such as oatmeal; brown rice; and whole-grain breads, cereals, and crackers. Also, you may want to try limiting your intake of grains overall, particularly wheat, as it has been shown to increase inflammation. Try substituting an apple for your normal midday cracker or biscuit snack. You’ll have eliminated one serving of grains, pushing your diet into a more balanced state. Replace your wheat-based cereal with rough oatmeal, which tends to be less inflammatory. Instead of bread for lunch, try a salad with fruit and nuts and a side of low-fat yoghurt. Just one of these adjustments can go a long way toward alleviating pain.

A Better Diet Takes Stress off Your Back and may reduce your Pain too!!
Four simple things you can do today—this week—that will help ease your pain. These are easy things and they don’t take up much time. Drink more water; take a good multivitamin, use an enzyme supplement; and avoid high-fat, high-sugar, and processed foods. Try it for one to two weeks and I’ll bet you’ll find yourself feeling a lot better. Plus, since tastes change as you eat different foods, you’ll probably start to wonder why you ever wanted all those fatty things in the first place.

Train Hard – Eat Clean – Expect Success Jax Allen20/11/10©

Are you running on empty?

Running on Empty?
Every now and again someone mentions doing cardio workouts on an empty stomach….
Now, I say “cardio”, but really it was a metabolic resistance training session. The style of training I use in my bootcamps.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, simply, metabolic resistance training is “cardio with weights” that could be actual weight or your own body weight or resistance bands.
I can tell when clients have not eaten, we get about 10 minutes or so into the workout and they look pretty tired (despite being really fit).

So’ I’ll ask them did they have breakfast?
“I didn’t eat anything for breakfast.”
– Why not?
“I thought that’s what you’re supposed to do if you want to burn the most fat from your morning workouts.”
Oh dear – another hang over from Body for Life – a popular concept a few years ago…. And I must admit I used it in my Aerobic sessions.
Perhaps you still believe it can work for you. So lets have a look at the theory behind empty stomach cardio is simple: supposedly, by doing cardio on a empty stomach, you tap directly into fat stores since glycogen (carbohydrate) stores are somewhat depleted after an overnight fast.
Seems to make sense, but research has proven this to be untrue.
Several studies have shown no difference in the source of the energy you use for those working out on an empty stomach vs. those who eat a small meal prior to their morning workouts.
In fact, one study showed the exact opposite—those who had a small meal first burned more calories and more fat than the empty stomach group.
How can this be?
The reason is rather simple if you think about it.
Try to run on empty and you’ll barely get through my workouts. Even if not eating beforehand allowed you to burn more fat (which it doesn’t), the major trade off is performance.
And why does performance matter? Well, if you can’t perform at an optimal level, then you are not going to be burning an optimal amount of calories.
The truth is, empty stomach cardio is an outdated philosophy whose theory was proven incorrect by research. Still, there are plenty of people who hold on to the theory despite the available research. Perhaps they’re not aware of it, perhaps they just go by what the fitness and bodybuilding magazines tell them (bad idea); I’m not sure.

Whatever the reason, popular philosophy doesn’t always mean correct philosophy, and this is one such instance.
So I’ll leave you with some practical recommendations:
At the very minimum, have a couple scoops of whey before any morning workout. Or better still a properly balanced workout shake… you can swig it on your way here and finish it in the magic ‘hour’ after your exercise.
Better performance = more calories burned = more fat loss = improved cardiovascular functioning = even better performance = even more calories burned = even more fat loss.
Don’t have a crappy workout because you didn’t eat.
Research shows that’s not going to make a difference anyway.
Instead, eat and then dominate your workout!

Eat Clean Train Hard Expect Results jax allen © 15/12/10

10 reasons to practise Pilates

Ten Reasons Why You Should
Make Pilates a Regular Part of Your Fitness Plan!

You have probably already been to one of my Pilates sessions at my Hayden Hill studio; at LA Fitness; Bannatynes in Cheltenham or DW Sports in Gloucester or perhaps you’ve found one of my web links and are deciding which class to come to. Please read on and let me know what you think….. I love getting your comments and questions so keep them coming. See you soon.
I was reading the notice board in one of the local health clubs recently. I like to see how they describe the Pilates classes I teach for their members.
It was no surprise to see a very general write up with words like stretch, relax, soothing and peaceful. If you ask staff they will say things like ‘ it’s a stretch session a bit like Yoga’. How wrong they are, Pilates is a body changing, cross training gem that should be the most powerful part of any fitness plan.
In fact, in over 25years as a Fitness Instructor I’ve had more clients referred to me by health professionals than for all the other class types put together. Mobility and flexibility improve with Pilates practice, however, the extreme stretches and positions in a Yoga session are not required for Pilates class. Controlled strengthening exercises flow together to shape and tone muscles using body weight, mini and balance balls and resistance bands. Don’t be mislead, Pilates isn’t just for the ‘walking wounded’ it’s for you if you’re serious about your health and fitness. We all know we should think about ourselves as a whole being, how we should consider our fitness and nutrition, work and play balance, happiness and stress levels – Pilates classes can give you a way to achieve many of these targets.
An experienced mat Pilates instructor will lead you through a range of exercises, will challenge your ability to balance, stabilise and control your body in many different positions. Your muscles will work hard, your ‘core’ or torso muscles will wake–up and you will be encouraged to ‘switch them on’ for the duration of the class while breathing deeply and with purpose while you focus on each and every movement. No wonder a good Pilates teacher is a better way to a six-pack than 100’s of boring and often painful, ineffective crunches.
So here are 10 reasons you MUST include Pilates into your Fitness Regime
1. Improve your Posture – look 7lbs lighter.
2. Relieve your Back Pain
3. Improve the quality of your sleep
4. Increase muscle strength – lose inches
5. Improve Osteoporosis – improve bone density
6. Relax and reduce stress – feel energised
7. Improve Stress Incontinence
8. Improve Balance and Co-Ordination – improve your sport
9. Aid recovery from injury;
10. Train without Pain.
Read on to discover the why good Pilates classes are always full of devoted regulars.
1. Improve Your Posture
Your spine supports the weight of your body and allows your body to move with ease and comfort. That’s the theory anyway. But in practice, hours spent sitting in front of a computer screen or slumped in front of a TV means that the spine’s natural S shape is lost, resulting in back pain and rounded shoulders. Pilates helps to re-align the spine and with that comes better posture.

2. Relief from back pain
A great deal of lower back pain comes from poor posture and our daily mistreatment of our spines. Re-aligning your spine and improving your posture can often eliminate non-specific low back pain entirely.

3. A good night’s sleep
Name three things essential for life and you will probably list air, water and food. Few people will mention sleep and yet it too is essential to life. Millions in England alone use prescription drugs to get to sleep. Pilates can help stretch muscles, releasing tension and pain, and it can also help trigger natural sleep responses. Lack of sleep not only makes you tired and irritable but also prevents you losing body fat.

4. Increase your strength without adding muscle bulk
Pilates helps increase both your strength without adding unwanted bulk because it focuses on developing your “core” – the muscles found in your torso. By toning and stretching these muscles, and by correcting your posture, your natural strength will improve in leaps and bounds. With practice and by continually progressing exercises you will improve your muscle endurance too.

5. Pilates can help prevent osteoporosis
One in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 in the UK will break a bone, often due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone condition affecting millions of people every year, the spine, wrist and hips becoming thin and weak and susceptible to fractures. By promoting good posture and balance, Pilates can actively help you avoid becoming one of those affected.

6. A great way to relax and beat stress
Pilates is a form of exercise that re-introduces you to your own body and the better you understand your body and how it works, the easier it will be for you to release tension, relax and beats the stresses and strains of modern life. Many classes are set to rhythmic chill-out music to further enhance feelings of relaxation and to create a flowing tempo to the exercises.

7. Help with prevention of stress incontinence
Stress incontinence is the most common form of incontinence and affects over three million people in the UK. A common cause of this type of incontinence in women is pregnancy, where the pelvic floor muscles can be weakened, but as we get older muscles in the pelvic area can weaken too. Pilates will help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, thereby curing what can be a very distressing problem for sufferers. Many clients avoid surgery by practicing just a few simple Pilates exercises a few times each week.

8. Improve your balance and co-ordination
Pilates helps improve your balance and co-ordination by realigning your spine and strengthening your “core” muscles. Better balance and co-ordination means fewer injuries – explaining Pilates growing popularity among professional sports people – from dancers to rugby players. Pilates training has included twists and turns that for years were removed from other forms of fitness training, these very movements allow the body to develop as it should, ‘waking up’ lazy and lengthening tight muscles.

9. Helps aid recovery after injury – and prevent injury recurring
Because of its no impact nature, Pilates is widely recognised as beneficial to people who are recovering from many sports injuries. Pilates can play a big part in correcting body alignment and with practice further injury can be avoided.

10. No pain plenty gain!
In most gyms you will hear the mantra “no pain, no gain”, but you won’t hear that in Pilates sessions. Pilates is a gentle non-aerobic form of exercise that will tone and strengthen your muscles and transform poor posture without over working the joints or the heart. Exercises are taught in levels and as you progress through these your workout becomes more challenging. So, you don’t need Aerobics to get hot and maybe even a little sweaty!!

Jax Allen is program director for the Cheltenham based company Helping Really Busy People Look Better Naked.

30/12/10 ©