Workout BEFORE Breakfast?!!

While the benefits of exercises are known to everyone, many tend to give the morning fitness regime a miss due to the heavy work schedule or late-nights. However, morning workouts have more benefits than any other workout during the day — from controlling weight, enhancing mood and keeping you fit and healthy. Did you know it also helps you find your inner creativity?


Whether it is in just writing an article, painting a canvas or churning out ideas for your office meeting; physical activity activates the creative juices and once they start flowing, there is nothing to stop you.You start to look at things positively and feel refreshed and energised to start a new day at the end of a morning workout. To get that much-needed creative boost, set up a regular exercise schedule and see the difference

Once you take a decision to start, stick to it and ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

We exercise Monday to Friday at 06:15 and we’re ready for the day by 07:00. 

Saturday’s we meet at 08:15, every session is different – no boredom with our workouts! 

No 12 week repeating workouts that your body adapts to within just a few classes, your brain goes automatic and you find yourself daydreaming when you should be engaged, working so hard you just about complete each interval. 

If you’re really lucky you’ll work till you fail! That’s when you get fabulous results, not when you coast through as an invisible part of a big group. 

Next time you decide to do something about your fitness and you really mean it – come and join one of our pre- breakfast Fatloss Fitcamps – group Personal Training as its best. Personal attention in a small group – every repetition coached to perfection, every exercise adapted for best results. 

We look forward to seeing you before breakfast soon

Book NOW by text 07831 680086

Or email me : jaxallenfitness@gmail.com

Visit my website : http://www.jaxallenfitness.com

Train Smart.  Eat Clean. Expect Results 

Jax 

Your Gut – 10x more cells than your entire body?

Unfortunately, many people think of their gut solely as the mechanism by which your body digests food, which is at best an extreme oversimplification, and at worst an ideology massively contributing to the health problems, weight loss struggles, and auto-immune disorders of millions world-wide.
In reality, your GI tract is MUCH more than a digestion center; in fact, it is quite literally your second brain as well as being “home” to 80% of your immune system.
You see, within your gut reside roughly 100 TRILLION living bacteria…
That’s more than 10 times the number of cells you have in your entire body – and maintaining the ideal ratio of “good bacteria” (known as probiotics) to “bad bacteria” is now gaining recognition as perhaps the single most important step you can take to protect your health and further along your fat loss goals.
In fact, there are more than 200 studies linking inadequate probiotic levels to more than 170 different serious health issues; including obesity and weight gain:
To touch briefly on the weight gain and obesity consequences, virtually every study performed on the obese population analyzing gut bacteria found higher instances of “bad” bacteria and lower levels of probiotics (again, the “good” bacteria) within these individuals.
Perhaps you yourself are already experiencing some of the more advanced signs that your intestinal bacterial balance is beginning to spin out of control, such as:
• Gas and bloating

• Constipation and/or diarrhea

• Skin problems

• Overall sickness

• Headaches

• Urinary tract infections

• Trouble sleeping

• An inability to lose weight

• Sugar cravings, especially for heavily refined carbs
You see, the ideal healthy ratio of “good” to “bad” bacteria is 85% to 15%, or 9 to 1.
Unfortunately, due to lifestyle and environmental factors, the vast majority of the population is severely lacking when it comes to good probiotic bacteria, throwing their gut flora ratio completely out of whack.
These lifestyle and environmental factors include, but are not limited to, exposure to:
• Sugar

• Artificial sweeteners of any kind (found in “diet” beverages and food items, chewing gum, and even toothpaste)

• Processed foods

• Chlorinated water

• Pollution

• Antacids

• Laxatives

• Alcoholic beverages

• Agricultural chemicals and pesticides, and…

• Antibiotics (from medications and/or antibiotics found in meat and dairy products that we ingest).
As you can see, unless you maintain a 100% organic diet, completely avoid all sugar, and lock yourself in the house in an attempt to only consume the purest of air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is almost certain that your gut flora balance is suffering, and will continue to suffer, unless you do something to proactively correct it on a daily basis.
Can you really afford to neglect your gastrointestinal health much longer?
If you do, the likely result is dramatically increased risk for health problems and disease, failure to experience relief from any ailments you may be currently suffering from, and an inevitable, continual struggle with your weight.
With that said, it’s no wonder that research is now suggesting that supplementing with probiotics every single day is even MORE important to your health than taking a daily multi-vitamin…

How Is Your Abdominal Training  Plan Working? 

Mention abdominal training or core exercises and most people immediately think of sit-ups. Traditionally the go to move to flatten your belly and trim your waist. However, sit-ups are probably THE single worst exercise known for this purpose. 

Rather than balancing the muscles that surround and support your spine the wrong kind of training can cause more muscle imbalances. 

Another visible effect of unbalanced core strength is a pot belly. Yes! Training your abs wrong actually makes you look fatter!…

When you train your abs the wrong way you over-tighten a set of muscles called your hip flexors…

One of the hip flexors — the psoas major — originates on the vertebrae of the lower back and inserts on the top of your thigh bone…

When you shorten and tighten your hip flexors with the wrong kinds of abs training you actually pull your pelvis forward and down. This gives you a sagging belly that makes you look like you’re 5-10 lbs heavier than you actually are!…

And not only will you look fatter than you are… your distorted pelvis will give you serious back pain. Yet the danger to your back can be much more severe…


Here’s where your quest for flat abs can be dangerous!…

Most abs exercises force your spine into extreme flexion – bending or curling forward. Yet we now know this increases something called intra-discal pressure. Basically this is like pressing on a tube of toothpaste and increasing the pressure on the paste inside.

If you press hard enough the toothpaste will squirt out. And that’s exactly what happens to the fluids inside your disc when enough pressure builds up — causing what’s called disc protrusion or worse… disc hernias…

It can take months of careful treatment to recover from disc damage. Pain and discomfort  can stop your normal everyday activities and definitely put a stop to your flat ab dreams. 

So to find the right way for you to train your abs that gives you a healthy core, beautiful posture, and a stunning midsection you have to consider lots of of different factors. 

        Rectus Abdominis

The rectus abdominis is the long muscle that runs from your rib cage to your pelvis. It’s dissected vertically by a thin sheath of connective tissue, and horizontally by tendinous attachments that create six pack abs most guys are looking for. In my experience most folk have to focus completely on reducing bodyfat to get the ‘6 Pack’ look. 

The rectus abdominis helps to flex – bend forward – the spinal column. More importantly it stabilises the trunk  by balancing the back muscles and controls the trunk during movements involving arms and legs. This is the secret to way I train the core in both my Fitcamps and Pilates sessions. 

    The Obliques

The internal and external obliques work like a corset to define your waistline. These cinch you up and give you that V-tapered and slim-waisted look that is hardwired to be attractive to both men and women.

Pilates activates your obliques in a way that “wraps” your core in a protective sheath that will open up a whole new world of abs flattening exercise that’s been shown to work 3x faster than traditional training…

I include a 360′ approach to core or trunk training.  The result is a strong, mobile functioning spine in all directions of movement 

    The Posterior Chain

The posterior chain is simply the backside of your body. Its primary muscles include the lower back, gluteus maximus (butt), hamstrings, and spinal erectors

You may be scratching your head wondering why it’s included in the three Abdominal Fields of Action. Here’s why..

The Posterior Chain is the glue that binds your core together and will allow you to achieve the “spinal neutral” position – or the Natural Arch you’ve heard me talk about in class, that is central to the way your healthy spine works. 

So, when you next think about doing some exercises for your core remember it’s not just sit-ups and crunches you need a 3D approach to balance your posture and protect your spine. 
Train Hard, Eat Clean, Expect Results 
Jax 

Which Trainers? Running, trail, gym….

We had an interesting little chat in Fitcamp the other morning and few of the gang were talking about changing their trainers. Various reasons and suggestions were put forward – I thought this info graphic would go somewhat to help the decision making process. 
For years now I have worn and recommended New Balance Minimus Vibram trail shoes. They are light weight, very flexible almost flat for a barefoot style and take the stresses of the multi directional training included in my sessions. 

I first swapped after attending a seminar on barefoot running – although I NEVER run – it was an interesting talk and very persuasive. The main takeaway was that high heels hurt your knees and back! What a surprise – we girls have known this for ever – but trainer makers never related that to sports shoe design.  

So here’s bit of history (science) to persuade you too. My occasional knee niggle is long gone, the impact work we do doesn’t present any problem even tho my shoes have very little traditional support. 


Next time you’re thinking of buying new training shoes, consider what you want to do, what you want to achieve. If you are with us and not planning on spending hours on useless cardio machines, intend on mixing your strength and cardio training into,super effective metabolic conditioning sessions you’ll need a flexible, supportive low profile shoe with good grip and adjustable fit. 

To squat you need a flat foot position, to keep your feet healthy you need to ‘feel’ the floor and you need to be able to wash and wear your trainers. These current designs all allow sweat to wick away and cooling mesh panels reduce heat. Many are treated to prevent bacteria too! Here are a few pictures of what I think you should look for


This is very similar to the shoe I use. I searched online for ‘Sports Shoes Direct’ they have good sales – especially once you know your size. These are NOT cheap shoes – but I wear them everyday and they last very well.  Old style shoes with thick soles break down inside – you think you’ve got a supportive shoe but the cushioning structures have crumbled tipping you even further forward than before.

Other makers to look at are Merrel and Sketchers. Sadly, I don’t really like shoes that I’ve seen from Nike and Adidas – they are still built on a wedge sole, even tho’ much lower than in the past, and usually have an unstructured upper that stretches and warps when under strain of multi-directional training. 

I’ve recently done two Active ageing and Functional ageing training courses, the take home from both was that we need to spend time barefoot or as close to it everyday. To keep muscles working and responsive but also to stimulate the feedback mechanisms in our feet – soles, toes and heels. The ‘use it or lose it’ rule applies to this aspect of fitness too.  

I believe you will move better as a result of more feedback from your feet, your muscles will absorb impact rather than your joints and you’ll have less hard skin and callouses too!  These shoes even come in width fittings – so no more bursting out the sides of your running shoes when you train laterally or blisters from your narrow feet moving inside a wide shoe. 

Remember as a species we’ve been moving for thousands of years, no-one needs to run for miles and miles to be healthy and fit. If running is your sport – that’s your choice. But to get the best fitness bang for your buck (time) you’ll be cutting down pure cardio, increasing resistance training and hopefully combining the two, so an adaptable shoe is essential. 

Let me know how you get on.

Jax 

So Your Back Hurts!

This article is for Naomi,remember to do your homework xx
 Your body is an amazing thing! You decide to stand up, reach across a table , go for run, climb stairs and you do it, without thought or problem. Then one day, for no apparent reason,  you drop a sock, bend over to pick it up and suddenly you have dreadful pain in your lower back, you are stuck and can hardly shout for the help you need!

So, there you are, wondering what you did to cause this much pain. I believe that we can, with a little education, learn to maintain our aches and pains. We can discover where we have built up unwanted muscle tension, weakness and tightness. 

I’ve been teaching, instructing and coaching real people since the  80’s. I’ve attended so many training courses and know how and why training recommendations have changed over the years. Modern scanners, thousands of peer reviewed studies, real life data from athletes in many sports all give us a good grounding on how our fantastic bodies react and adapt to the stresses of everyday activities and the sports we choose to participate in. 

So often injuries are ‘set-up’ by our patterns of behaviour in our everyday, we notice them when we change something – a new car, chair or desk at work. I meet clients everyday, usually through my Pilates teaching, referred by therapists of all kinds that need to maintain a healthy framework for their sport, exercise routines and lifestyle. 

Ok, you say, but how do I know what is a ‘normal’ framework?

Your pain is specific to the centre of your lower back. You may feel pain more on one side than another. You may have been told you have tight hamstrings, hip flexors and gluteal (bottom) muscles that are lazy – my clients hear me talk about  what I call  ‘lazy a** syndrome’! We may joke, but it’s not funny if you have it. 

Sitting for long periods, not activating your core by using a proper bracing technique or forgetting to train your pelvic floor can all lead to low back pain, pelvic rotations and ‘Lower Cross Syndrome’, SI joint dysfunction and Sacroillitis. 

Lots of expensive Osteo and Chiro visits can give temporary relief, but until you learn to add your homework exercises into your exercise plan your back pain will return. I think it’s worth checking your range of motion at your hip joint. So often back problems and pain are related to hip dis function. This is what I’d like to focus on here. 

 Find a mirror and check out your range of motion at this important joint. Your hip joint, pelvis and surrounding muscles work very hard all the time. To allow us to move in the many ways we enjoy all these structures have to align and remain in support of each other. 

If you don’t achieve this amount of movement you are setting yourself up for problems. 

Sometimes it’s tricky to work out exactly what you need to do so I’ll outline a range of exercises that won’t hurt anyone,  but may solve your imbalances in muscle length or joint mobility. 
Anterior & Posterior chain.

The muscles and structures on the front of your body should balance the tension in your posterior chain (back of your body) makes sense, doesn’t it, just like the ropes on a tent, they need even tension  all round to stabilise. Sounds simple – but sometimes imbalances happen. Bad postural habits, movement patterns at work, driving or even in your sport can effect your alignment. If this happens the smallest action can cause enormous amounts of pain and discomfort!!

I will list below the exercises, stretches and mobility work I think you should include in your exercise ‘Pre-hab’ to stay balanced and healthy. Make sure you’re warm before you stretch. 


Use a resistance band or old belt around your foot. This allows you to straighten your knee. Ideally you should get a 90′ angle at your hip ( if it’s a lot more so that your foot is next to your face you will probably have the opposite problem of joint instability. In which case swap stretches for strength work.  See later for strengthening work. 


This stretch is more focused on getting your thigh to your rib cage. Notice does your leg wander to the side of your body? Your muscles will find the line of least resistance – so try to correct this and pull your bent knee as close to your body as you can. Use the band or belt to work on straightening your knee, still keeping your thigh done on your ribs.  You can point and flex your foot/ankle too – you’ll feel the stretch beyond your knee into your lower leg/ankle. 

The next stretch is probably the most important – often forgotten by most gym goers. 


As you can see the red muscles are the ones that need to stretch. The bright red ones inside and a cross the pelvis cause a lot of problems. They cross so many joints in the low back, pelvis and hip that almost any action we perform – sitting, driving, running, cycling and squatting all involve these muscles. 
If they become short, weak and or tight incredible strain is put on your pelvis – your Sacro Illiac joint – causing it to twist or rotate out of its normal position. Leg length and gait can be effected. You might find you feel the need to roll your knees from side to side or ‘crack’ your back to relive the pressure. Sadly, this will only give temporary relief and may even make your imbalance worse!


This deep kneeling stretch should be a regular ‘hangout’ for you and when you can,  you should raise your arms up above your head.  Try using a doorway to support your back and then reach your hands up along the frame. Build up to 3 minutes a side. 

Stretches done you can focus on joint mobility – these exercises can be done as part of you’re Pre-Hab warm up. 

I call this one the carpet fitter  mobility. 

Start on all fours, ram your knee against your ankle – so that your shin moves across the floor underneath you. 

Stack your hip directly over your knee and then explore the corners. Remember it’s not a stretch – it’s a mobility move , so push in and out to feel pressure, stretching or maybe even slight pain in your hip joint capsule. Or aim here is to release any tightness that’s built up and get dramatic improvement in your range of motion. 


It may take sometime doing your other exercises before you can sit as low as Kelly – shown here. 

This is another ‘hang out’ position. With heels down – no cheating with high heel training shoes!- feet pointing forward  is your target. Apply a little pressure on your knees with your elbows – rock and grind into your hips , keeping your feet planted and your chest up. Sit sideways on to a mirror if you can, look at the shape of your lower back. Ideally it will have its natural curve, in a strong but soft curve, rather than your bottom tucking under. 

The other factor in your framework is that your back extensors a are trying balance the tension in your hip flexors   If you feel along your low back, either side of your spine you may notice more tension one side than the other.   

You can use a firm dog ball, cricket or hockey ball or foam roller if you have one to lie on and release these tight muscles. 

Another strange, but very effective exercise is ‘Belly Smashing’

Using a small ball as shown here takes some courage” if you can find a foam or inflatable soft ball about the size of a small Melon you can use that under your belly along with deep relaxed breathing to get good results and release your lower back too. 


Pilates Bridges

You will hold these positions for 5-20 seconds while relaxing your breathing pattern so that your belly rises and falls with each breath. 

Start with 1. and progress through the sequence when you can keep your pelvis level and up in line with your knees and shoulders 

  1. both feet on the floor and parallel

2. Heels turned in and toes out

3. Lift one knee above your hip while pushing same side elbow into the floor close to your ribs. 

4. Hover one foot off the floor – keep it as close to the floor as possible. 

Do these exercise on both sides and increase the repetitions to a point of failure  every time your practise them. 

Do these exercises daily, let me know how you get on. 

Jax 

Cardio – a waste of fat burning time!


Did you know that if you perform 30, 40, even 50 minutes of slow and steady cardio day after day that, over time, it can actually make you GAIN fat around your belly, your thighs, and your legs?
It may sound hard to believe, but studies are now proving people who perform long bouts of chronic cardio suffer from decreased thyroid function[1], release more of the stress hormone cortisol[2], and increase their appetite[3] – all at the same exact time.
In fact, research shows people eat at least 100 MORE calories than they burn off after performing cardio.
Now here’s the REAL scary part.
Did you know that chronic cardio and jogging could even damage your heart[4]?
Sounds crazy, but your heart is a muscle and when it’s overworked with old-school cardio it can do more harm than good.
Whether it’s toning classes, yoga , 5k races, Pilates, or “core training” – all these things are “healthy” for you, but they’ll never flatten your belly or release the hormones that keep you young and burn off stubborn fat.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what your current condition is, or what limitations you have – unless you learn to apply proper intensity on YOUR body, you’ll NEVER see your belly get flatter or slow the aging process.
We are not saying you should go all-out and risk injury, but learning to push yourself for short, hard bursts is by far the most efficient and effective way to force your body to release fat burning hormones.

Research refs – efficient exercise for Fatloss

1. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2003 Jan; 88(4-5):480-4.

2. Skoluda, N., Dettenborn, L., et al. Elevated Hair Cortisol Concentrations in Endurance Athletes. Psychoneuroendocrinology. September 2011.
3. Sonneville, K.R., et al. (2008) International Journal of Obesity. 32, S19-S27.

 . Cakir-Atabek, H., Demir, S., Pinarbassili, R., Bunduz, N. Effects of Different Resistance Training Intensity on Indices of Oxidative Stress. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. September 2010. 24(9), 2491-2498.
5. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992 Jul;75(1):157-62. Effect of low and high intensity exercise on circulating growth hormone in men. authors: Felsing NE1, Brasel JA, Cooper DM.
6. R. Bahr and O.M. Sejersted, “Effect of Intensity on Excess Postexercise O2 Consumption,” Metabolism 40.8 (1991) : 836-841.
6. C. Bass, “Forget the Fat-Burn Zone: High Intensity Aerobics Amazingly Effective,” Clarence and Carol Bass, http://www.cbass.com, 1997.
6. J. Smith and L. McNaughton, “The Effects of Intensity of Exercise and Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption and Energy Expenditure in Moderately

Trained Men and Women,” Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 67 (1993) : 420-425..
6. I. Tabata, et al., “Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermittent Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2max,” Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 28.10 (1996) : 1327-1330.
6. I. Tabata, et al., “Metabolic Profile of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercises,” Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 29.3 (1997) : 390-395.
6. 2011 study conducted by the American College of Sport Medicine. 

UK Adolescents Dangerously Low Vit’ D Levels!

Sun exposure provides inadequate vitamin D in UK adolescentsFarrar MD, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016;doi:10.1210/jc.2016-1559.

Adolescents in the United Kingdom did not get enough sunlight to receive healthy amounts of vitamin D in a study recently published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, prompting researchers to recommend changes to British government guidelines on vitamin D intake. More than one-quarter of the adolescents in the study had inadequate vitamin D levels even during summer, the period when participants spent the most time outdoors.
“Current U.K. national guidance on vitamin D acquisition assumes those aged 4 to 64 years gain their vitamin D requirements from sunlight alone, thus there is no recommended nutrient intake,” Mark D. Farrar, BSc, PhD,of the Centre for Dermatology, Institute of Inflammation and Repair, University of Manchester, and colleagues wrote. “Meanwhile, substantial proportions of the global population, including the U.K., are reported to have low vitamin D status, and rickets has returned as a clinical concern.”

Chocolate, Butter & Coconut Oil Healthy & Anti-Ageing!

3 SATURATED Fats that Actually SLOW Aging in Your Body
Yes, ALL three of these foods have a high ratio saturated fats, but studies are showing that they actually improve your heart health and fight aging. Read on…
The majority of the population these days still seem to “fear” fats in the diet because of all of the fat-free and low-fat propaganda of the 80’s and 90’s that falsely made people think that all fats are bad for us. Nothing could be further from the truth!
As a health blogger, fitness coach and Nutritionist, I observe people’s eating habits all the time… and I constantly see well-intentioned, but misinformed people choosing egg whites instead of whole eggs, even though studies show that the “fatty” yolks contain almost all of the anti-aging benefits, heart-health benefits, and 90% of the valuable antioxidants and vitamins/minerals in an egg, whereas the whites contain very little nutrition at all. Not only that, but egg yolks have been proven to raise your GOOD cholesterol, and improve the good to bad ratios.
I also see people constantly choosing “low-fat” and “fat-free” options of various foods in the supermarket despite the fact that most of these options contain a LOT more carbs and sugars to replace the fats that are taken out, which actually leads to FASTER AGING by increasing the amount of Advanced Glycation End Products(AGEs) that your body produces. These nasty little compounds called AGEs speed up the aging process in your body including damage over time to your organs, your joints, and of course, wrinkled skin.
Plus, it’s high blood sugar from all of those extra sugars and carbs in “low-fat” and “fat-free” choices that increase AGEs in your body on a daily basis leading to faster aging. On the other hand, all of those FATS that people have been avoiding for years can actually SLOW the aging process by keeping your blood sugar lower and more stable, hormones balanced, and for other reasons too.
In fact, it’s absolutely imperative to get enough healthy fats in your diet to keep your hormones balanced, blood sugar under control, prevent cravings, and to SLOW the aging process in your organs, skin, and joints. 
And I’m NOT just talking about the obvious healthy fats that you hear about in the news all the time, such as almonds, walnuts, avocados, fish oil, and our beloved olive oil… all of those examples ARE definitely healthy and contain loads of beneficial nutrients that can help you to live longer, healthier, and leaner…
BUT…
Here are THREE more examples of “fatty” foods that most people falsely think are “unhealthy” simply because they do contain certain ratios of saturated fat… But in reality, these foods are shown in studies to protect our bodies from the ravages of aging and even help us to stay lean…
1. Grass-fed (outdoor reared) butter & cream
Yes, delicious smooth and rich BUTTER (real butter, NOT deadly margarine!)… It’s delicious, contains loads of healthy nutritional factors, and does NOT have to be avoided in order to stay healthy and get lean. In fact, I often use grass-fed butter whenever a spread is called for, like on a juicy treat slice or three of fruit bread. 
There’s a lot of confusion about this topic… in fact, I attended a Science Festival lecture that was talking about fat and one of the first things a nutritionist ‘banned’ was saturated fat. It just shows that the majority of the population still doesn’t fully understand that butter (grass-fed only!) can actually be a healthy part of your diet.
In fact, there’s even ample evidence that REAL butter can even fight aging and help you to lose body fat for a couple of main reasons:
   a. Grass-fed butter is known to have high levels of a healthy fat called CLA, which has been shown in numerous studies to have anti-cancer properties, and also has been shown to help burn abdominal fat and build lean muscle. I use a powdered CLA supplement in my recovery shakes. 
   b. Grass-fed butter also has an ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids (unlike conventional grain-fed butter) which helps fight inflammation in your body, and can help balance hormones, thereby helping to slow the aging process, and keep your body lean.
   c. The healthy fats in grass-fed butter also contain MCTs (similar to the MCTs in coconut oil), which help to boost your immune system and are readily burned by the body for energy. The healthy fats in grass-fed butter also help to satisfy your appetite and control blood sugar levels, both of which help you to stay lean!
If you have a hard time finding a grass-fed butter at your grocery store, Kerrygold Irish butter is one of my favorites, and the cows are 100% grass-fed on lush green pastures in Ireland. It’s one of the richest butters in colour that I’ve seen, which indicates high levels of carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that help fight ageing. 
Note for people who are dairy sensitive or think they might be:  
People that are dairy sensitive or intolerant are generally NOT sensitive to butter or cream. This is something that’s highly misunderstood in the nutrition industry, even by most authors and doctors. The truth is that it’s almost always either the lactose or the casein that people are sensitive to, and butter or cream has nothing more than traces of either since butter and cream is solely the fat portion of dairy while the lactose and casein have mostly been removed when the fat is skimmed off the milk. The amount of casein in butter or cream is negligible compared to milk.
Also, fermented dairy generally doesn’t give people any problems either (kefir or plain yogurt) because the lactose has been digested by the microbes, making kefir 99% lactose free usually. Plus, even the casein in kefir and yogurt is MUCH more highly digestible because the microbes have already performed a little pre-digestion on it.

2. Super Dark Chocolate (72% cacao content or higher) 
It might not be a secret anymore, but yes, dark chocolate (NOT milk chocolate) can be a very healthy food, even though it is technically calorie dense. 
However, I would contend that dark chocolate can actually HELP you to burn off more body fat if you’re the type of person that has a sweet tooth and likes to eat a lot of desserts. In this case, just 1 or 2 small squares of dark chocolate can many times satisfy your sweet tooth for only 30 or 40 calories as opposed to 500 calories for a piece of chocolate cake or a piece of pie. 
Also some brands of dark chocolate that are in the mid 70’s in % cacao content or higher, can have a fairly high ratio of fibre content (I’ve seen some brands have 5-7 grams of fibre out of 15 grams of total carbs per serving), and relatively low sugar content compared to the amount of healthy fats. In fact, that’s one of the “tricks” I use to select a good quality chocolate… I look for more total fat than total carbs (or about the same number of grams of each).
The importance of that fact is that it means many dark chocolates will not greatly affect your blood sugar and will have a fairly blunted blood sugar response compared to other “sweets”.
In addition, dark chocolate is also very rich in healthful antioxidants, including a powerful compound called theobromine which has been shown to help lower your blood pressure and have other health benefits. 
Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants called flavanols with dozens of health benefits… One study found that eating as little as 6.7 grams of chocolate per day has a protective effect on your heart. Other studies show benefits to your digestive system by improving the ratios of good to bad bacteria in your gut, possibly due to the catechins and polyphenols in cocoa.
The reason I say to choose dark chocolates with at least 72% cacao content is that the higher the % of cacao, the lower the % of sugar. However, this does mean that any chocolate over 80% cacao content will generally start to get a more bitter taste and have very little sweetness. If you like this type of taste, then the higher % cocao, the better. Otherwise, a good 75% dark chocolate is in my opinion an almost perfect combination of lightly sweet with a rich velvety chocolate taste. 
You can also reap the benefits of the antioxidants and fibre without all of the calories by using organic unsweetened cocoa powder in your smoothies or other recipes.
The bottom line is that you can enjoy small to moderate amounts of dark chocolate and also cocoa powder daily, and it only helps you to stay lean and fight the aging process in your body.


3. Coconut oil, coconut meat, coconut flour, and coconut milk
Coconut milk and oil are great sources of a super healthy type of saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), including a component called lauric acid, which is a powerful nutrient for your immune system, and is lacking in most western diets. In addition, MCTs are readily used for energy by the body and less likely to be stored as body fat compared to other types of fats.
Eating coconut oil can help improve the health of your skin from the inside out… But in addition to being healthy internally, coconut oil is also known to be great for the health of your skin externally as a skin moisturizer that’s healthier for you than most lotions since natural coconut oil allows you to avoid the harmful chemicals found in many lotions. 
Coconut oil is even shown to help improve your thyroid function as well as helping to protect your brain from Alzheimers.
There are even direct studies that show that coconut oil can help you burn off abdominal fat more efficiently.
Along with coconut milk and coconut oil as healthy fat choices, we’ve also got coconut flour as a healthier flour option for baking. Coconut flour is an extremely high fibre flour alternative (almost ALL of the carbs in this flour are fiber and not starch!). Coconut flour is also VERY high in protein compared to most flours and is also gluten free! 
Just beware that if you’re going to use coconut flour for baking, it absolutely NEEDS to be mixed with other flours as it sucks up moisture like crazy…make delicious baked goods by mixing coconut flour with almond flour and quinoa flour in equal parts, and adding slightly more liquid ingredients than the recipe calls for.

 
Enjoy your fats and NEVERTHELESS feel on a ‘diet’
Jax 

 

High Protein Snack Favourite

SAVOURY HIGH-PROTEIN QUINOA PANCAKESLooking for new breakfast ideas? You’ll love these savoury pancakes.


Not only easy to make, but also very versatile. You can add any ingredient you like.
You can even use them as a substitute for burger buns! Just whack a patty between two pancakes, add lettuce, tomato, onion and my healthy Aioli, voila low-carb burger!
Ingredients: (makes 5)
1 cooked full chicken breast

3 eggs

salt, pepper, tumeric powder & chili to taste

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Method:
Using a food processor, blend all ingredients except the quiona together until completely smooth. Mixture will look just like a pancake batter.

A large tablespoonful of the mixture on a hot greased skillet and press down gently like a pancake. Sprinkle quinoa on top.

Cook for about 1 minute then flip to the other side.

Still throwing your egg yolks away – wake -up! 

Once upon a time, the egg yolk was the premiere boogeyman of the nutritional world. No more! Here’s what you need to know about using yolks to get yoked.People around the world prepare eggs in countless ways. Scrambled and fried are just the start. But nothing cooked them more than the barrage of attacks laid out by the health industry throughout the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. And the most villainized part of the egg, of course, was the yolk.
But after years of abuse, the future is looking sunny-side up for that little yellow orb. Recent research has shed further light on the health benefits of whole eggs and cast plenty of doubt on the biggest arguments against the yolk. Let’s crack open the discussion!
SCIENCE’S 180 ON SATURATED FAT

For years, the media and health-governing bodies issued warnings to avoid saturated fat at all costs because it was thought to be a major player in increasing one’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Eggs, which happen to contain saturated fat in the yolk, were a primary target. “Only eat eggs twice per week” and “never have more than two eggs a day” were common guidelines.
So what changed? For starters, we know more about saturated fat than we once did. There are various types of saturated fats, in fact, not all of which impact cardiovascular disease risk in the same way.1,2 Some forms, such as stearic acid, haven’t been shown to negatively impact cholesterol levels, and are largely converted to monounsaturated fat in the liver.1 It just so happens that stearic acid makes up a significant portion of an egg yolk’s total saturated fat content, and is present in even higher levels in free-range chicken eggs.3

DON’T SKIP THE YOLKS OUT OF FEAR OF WHAT THEY MIGHT DO TO YOUR HEALTH DECADES DOWN THE ROAD.

In either case, one large egg contains less than 10 percent of the recommended daily amount of saturated fat, and the last time I checked, that’s not even close to the biggest source around.4 But let’s look more closely at saturated fat in general. The reason saturated fat got such a bad rap was because of its supposed effect on cholesterol. Chronically elevated cholesterol, in combination with other cardiovascular disease risks, such as a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, poor dietary choices, and high blood pressure, has been linked to various forms of heart disease.
Eggs contain plenty of dietary cholesterol—that much is clear. But is that enough to raise cholesterol levels? Some studies indicate that it is, to a certain degree. However, this is no longer thought to be a problem for healthy, active, nonobese, nondiabetic populations. Some research even suggests that genetics is a bigger determinant in cholesterol levels compared to dietary intake.5
In fact, cholesterol is important—in the right amounts—for the avid gym-goer looking to improve his or her performance and physique. Why? Cholesterol is a precursor for testosterone, which, as we all know, has a profound impact on supporting and facilitating gains.

IN ADDITION TO BEING A PROTEIN POWERHOUSE, EGGS ARE JAM-PACKED WITH A RANGE OF CRUCIAL NUTRIENTS. HOWEVER, BY THROWING OUT THE YOLK, YOU’RE LOSING OUT ON NUMEROUS VALUABLE NUTRIENTS.

The real question, of course, is how all the saturated fats in foods like yolks potentially contribute to disease, right? A 2015 systematic review published in the British Medical Journal looked squarely at this association, including cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes.2 Researchers concluded that “saturated fats are not associated with all-cause mortality, CVD, coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, or type 2 diabetes.” Dozens of other studies have backed this up.
The takeaway: Don’t skip the yolks out of fear of what they might do to your health decades down the road.
ALL ABOUT EGGS

As long as the fitness industry has been around, eggs have been considered a go-to protein source. In the 1960s and 1970s, larger-than-life characters like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa went the extra mile and guzzled them raw.
Fear of foodborne illness eventually knocked out that practice, but in terms of protein quality and amino-acid availability, eggs remain the gold standard to which other food-based protein sources are compared.6
In addition to being a protein powerhouse, eggs are jam-packed with a range of crucial nutrients. However, by throwing out the yolk, you’re losing out on numerous valuable nutrients. Let’s take a look at the differences between the egg white and the yolk.

EGG WHITE

It’s basically water, protein, and a couple of nutrients in small amounts.
EGG YOLK

It’s got triple the calories of the white, almost as much protein, and a wide range of nutrients including:
Choline: Choline is an essential vitamin-like nutrient that plays a number of important roles within the body, including the production of the crucial neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Choline is also a major player in lipid metabolism and helps to increase neurotransmitter production.7 It just so happens that eggs are one of the best sources of choline.

Vitamin D: This fat-soluble vitamin offers far too many health-supporting and muscle-building benefits to list here. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find in food sources without enrichment.8 For this reason—and because we don’t get enough time in the sun—deficiencies are rampant, which can have serious health implications, particularly on the immune system. Egg yolks won’t solve the problem on their own, but they’re an important part of a multifaceted approach.

Additional fat-soluble vitamins: Egg yolks are also a solid source of vitamins A, E, and K, all of which require adequate dietary fat for absorption. You’ve no doubt heard that taking your daily multivitamin with a meal is a great way to optimize absorption. Yolks are like a multivitamin all on their own—or a great way to make sure yours is working.

If building muscle is your goal, including the yolks is a no-brainer. Whole eggs are rich in leucine, have a rock-solid amino-acid profile, and are about as affordable a superfood as you could ever hope to find. As for those extra calories, well, you’ll need them if you want to add muscle.


YOLKS AND WEIGHT LOSS

Whether whole eggs can help you lose weight is a question I’ve heard many times. The answer isn’t a simple “yes” or “no.” To be clear, the deciding factor in your weight-loss journey is whether or not you’re eating a variety of nutritious foods while in a caloric deficit.
There is a case for whole eggs, though. Consuming more fat has been shown to help keep dieters feeling full longer than a diet low in fat, while also optimizing their hormonal profile. Going very low-fat, we now know, is a bad idea for multiple reasons, and can leave you feeling awful.

DON’T CUT YOLKS OUT ON ACCOUNT OF THEIR FAT. AS FOR THEIR EXTRA CALORIES, WELL, IF YOU’RE SKEPTICAL, YOU CAN ALWAYS OPT FOR A HALF-HALF MIXTURE OF WHITES AND WHOLE EGGS.

So don’t cut yolks out on account of their fat. As for their extra calories, well, if you’re skeptical, you can always opt for a half-half mixture of whites and whole eggs.
But here’s what will always be in favor of eggs: They’re just easy. Making a fast, egg-based breakfast in the morning is simple, satisfying, and can be matched to just about any palate.
My advice? Don’t be chicken about eggs, so long as they fit your macros. The biggest choice now is how you want ’em made.

Eat Fat to Lose Fat!

REFERENCES

Kris-Etherton, P.M. & Innis, S. (2007). Dietary Fatty Acids—Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada. American Dietetic Association Position Report. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(9), 1599-1611.

de Souze, R.J., Mente, A., Maroleanu, A., Cozma, A.I., Ha, V., Kishibe, T., Uleryk, E., Budylowski, P., Schunemann, H., Beyene, J. & Anand, S.S. (2015). Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. The British Journal of Medicine, 351. doi: 10.1136/bmj.h3978.

Samman, S., Kung, F. P., Carter, L. M., Foster, M. J., Ahmad, Z. I., Phuyal, J. L., & Petocz, P. (2009). Fatty acid composition of certified organic, conventional and omega-3 eggs. Food Chemistry, 116(4), 911-914.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed Sept. 12, 2013.

McCaffery, J. M., Pogue-Geile, M. F., Muldoon, M., Debski, T. T., Wing, R. R., & Manuck, S. B. (2001). The nature of the association between diet and serum lipids in the community: A twin study. Health Psychology, 20(5), 341.

Egg Nutrition Council. (2014). Position Statement for Healthcare Professionals: Eggs and Protein. http://enc.org.au/position-statements/eggs-and-protein/.

Zeisel, S.H. & Corbin, K.D. (2012). Choline. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. John Wiley and Sons. 10th Edition, 405-418.

Hamilton, B. (2011). Vitamin D and Athletic Performance: The Potential Role of Muscle. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, 2(4), 211-219.