Common fitness questions

I’ve collected answers to frequently asked fitness questions from industry experts and what I would advise too. SYNERGY NUTRITION

I have knee pain- so I can exercise? 

Many people use knee pain as an excuse not to exercise, but there’s a difference between pain and discomfort. If there’s shooting pain, then a physio should look at it. If it just feels a bit stiff then swimming,the rowing machine and cycling are activities you can try and be doable. Ideally the muscles around the knee need to be strengthened, so lunges and squats can help.

What are the best exercises for the tummy? 

For firm abdominal muscles, body fat needs to be reduced. Which is 80% to do with nutrition, the rest is aerobic exercise. After that, you need to work on the muscles at the side of the abdomen, the obliques and the transversus abdominis. The plank is a great exercise. Start by holding your stomach and bottom muscles tight for 10 seconds until you can hold it for at least 1 minute. Yoga, Pilates, swiss ball classes tend to focus on the core.

What’s the fastest way to tone flabby arms? 

Interval training actually! One minute sprints followed by one minute of fast walking. Circuits class, swimming front crawl and racket sports are great arm toners. Other resistance training exercises can be performed too and a PT can show you how. Weighted dumbbells are great too and triceps – the muscles at the back of the arm are the easiest to tone up.

Is there a particular good time of day to exercise?

The way it stands at the moment, exercise has an accumulative effect and my opinion is it doesn’t matter which time of day one exercises as for me whats more important is the quality of the workout, strength and condition of your body and diet. I would avoid exercise close to bedtime as exercise has a stimulating effect. Personally I feel afternoon and early evening are the best times as the muscles are warmed up than if you wake up and go for a run even after a short warm up. The muscles have to be fully ‘warm’ and ready for you to avoid injuries. If you don’t feel strong enough or not well then avoid exercise as the performance of your workout is likely to be poorer.

Can I exercise on any empty stomach?

I personally wouldn’t recommend it, because you run the risk of tiring sooner and potentially burn less fat overall as fat metabolism is dependent on carbohydrate stores. The other downside is muscle mass may be compromised as its used as an energy fuel in place and this is what you want to avoid losing as having more muscle mass is what keeps you looking trim and toned and revs up your BMR further.  On the other hand, gentle stretches are fine to perform.

Is it okay to do all your exercise at the weekend? 

You’re better off spacing out your exercise sessions to get the maximum benefit of ‘afterburner’ where your body is still benefiting from exercise up to two days after the session. Even exercising on alternate days is better than exercising just once a week. If you want to get more fitter then you have to increase the intensity, for e.g increasing the weights and number of reps you do as your body gets stronger. Otherwise the exercises will be easy and you don’t gain the maximum benefits from the time you’ve spent on the workout.

What are the best exercises? SYNERGY NUTRITION

Mixing it up is the key, as this utilises all the different muscles. Doing too much of the same exercise can lead to too much bulk in one area of the body. I would recommend 1) skipping as no 1- because you are performing aerobic (fat loss) and anaerobic (muscle building) at the same time. Its low impact, cost effective and will get you fit in no time. 10 minutes a day to begin with if you do nothing at all.

My next favourites are the following which you can mix up. If you do any of these 3 times a week that’s great. 2) swimming- toning, low impact, no sweating, relaxing and energising. 3) cycling- aerobic & toning 4)rowing machine- perfect all body workout 5) any exercise gym class like boxercise, body pump, aerobic dance class, etc. 6) Racket sports, tennis, squash & badminton. The exercise has to be enjoyable for you. Some may feel like they are tough, but if you feel amazing afterwards, then continue with it as you get stronger and fitter.

Do consult a personal trainer or GP if starting out with a new fitness regime for more tailored advice, as the above may not be suitable for everyone. 

7 Ways to Spruce Up Your Sprouts

Roast them

Try roasting sprouts if you don’t like them streamed. Half an hour in the oven completely transforms them, giving them a nutty, slightly burnished flavour and a firm texture, without sogginess. You just throw the whole, trimmed sprouts onto a roasting tray, drizzle with oil and a pinch of salt and roast until sizzling and tender.

Shred them

Don’t fancy the look of a pile of sprouts all green and steaming in a bowl on the Christmas table? Then slice them up thinly and fry them instead. The best bit about this is that they stay lovely and glossy and the aromatics you add to the pan with them cover more of the surface area of the sprouts – so you get more flavour with every bite.

imageAdd some Indian spice

Stir in a spoonful of mild curry paste while you’re pan-frying your shredded sprouts and you’ll give them a spicy flavour boost. They’ll go beautifully alongside your roast turkey for an unusual twist. Once they’re tender, turn off the heat and squeeze in some lemon juice and a pinch of salt to lift the flavours.

Mix them up with other veg

You don’t have to have Brussels sprouts on their own. Combine them with other veggies, like broccoli florets or shredded cabbage. Butternut squash and sweet potato work well too, and give some contrasting colour. It sounds simple but it might be easier to have them as part of the Christmas feast with a little help from their veggie friends.

Get cheesy- for the ones that do eat dairy :-)

You know how a creamy, cheese sauce turns other veggies into a bubbling dish of heaven? Broccoli, cauliflower and leeks all benefit from a bake in a cheesy sauce, and so do sprouts. Just as the vegetables begin to soften, swirl in a little double cream, chopped garlic and grated cheese. Allow it to come to a bubble and then pour into an ovenproof dish and scatter more grated cheese on top. Bake for about 10 minutes in a hot oven until bubbling and golden on top. Try it with Cheddar, Parmesan or a tangy blue cheese.

Sweeten them up

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Brussels sprouts pair up beautifully with their classic Christmas counterpart – cranberries. A handful of dried cranberries thrown in towards the end of cooking to heat through lift the leafy, earthy flavours from the sprouts and give a burst of sweetness. You can also drizzle a little maple syrup over sprouts towards the end of roasting and then put them back in the oven for the last few minutes for a glossy, sweet glaze. Don’t go overboard though, you don’t want to make them taste like dessert, you just want to give them a festive burst of sweetness.

Chuck in some nuts

Chestnuts, pine nuts, walnuts and pecans are all good. They give a sweet crunch that contrasts with the tender green sprouts. Just throw a couple of handfuls in to fry or roast along with the sprouts. The sprout and nut combo works really well with a third ingredient – try it with some cheese or dried cranberries – or splash in a drop of white wine or marsala for a luxurious, festive flavour.

Self discovery to reveal the lighter happier new you

Why wait till the new year and 2016? Whilst things are going bang in the background on Guy Fawkes day, I have digressed slightly from my nutrition articles and had the urge to share this recording with you on getting yourself on the path that makes your feel happy. Almost everyone is being shaken at the moment like James Bond’s martini and it may feel like you’ve lost your way and our off track, but do not fret or regret as you are exactly where you should be or discovering where you should be, enjoy  :-)

 

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EMBRACE THE CHILL FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Years ago when studying for my Nutritional Biochemistry degree, I learnt about the two types of fat – white and brown that are bodies are composed of. Learning that brown fat is the ‘healthier’ of the two and generates heat by burning calories. The white fat is what stores energy and any excess is stored around the middle, hips and thighs. Not all fat is visible, for instance we cannot see internal fat with the naked eye, only with specialist equipment. Brown fat is derived from muscle tissue and is found primarily in hibernating animals and newborns. Infants have the highest quantity of brown fat which decreases as we get older. And it appears that having more brown fat keeps one lean and slim, as shown in countless rodent studies. Although white fat is a thermal insulator and cushions our internal organs, it is a major endocrine organ, which means its active and produces one form of oestrogen, leptin- a hormone that helps regulate appetite and hunger. It also has receptors for insulin, growth hormone, adrenaline, and cortisol. So, it’s a myth that fat cells just sit there and do nothing all day long and this is the type of fat we do not want a lot of.

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A brown fat cell -on fire 😉

One way to activate brown fat production and  burn calories is by exposing yourself to the cold regularly, such as exercising outdoors in the wintertime or in being in a cold room. However many of you are in heated indoor spaces which makes it difficult to get cool. So if you can lower the temperature in your living and working spaces it will be beneficial. The obsession with staying warm potentially has switched off natural weight controlled responses. Tempting as it is to hibernate under the duvet all day when its cold outside, do your body and mind a favour by getting at least 10 mins of fresh air.  In addition to getting some cold blasts a day, any kind of exercising especially swimming in cold swimming pool :-), a healthy diet, along with getting enough high-quality sleep will enable your body to produce more metabolically active brown fat. So in a nutshell the message is not to be freezing cold that your fingers turn blue but comfortably cool. Our bodies have in built mechanisms that keep us warm. So lets use them first instead of relying on artificial heating 24/7.

Recap on Mercury

When I say mercury, you may be thinking its present in amalgam fillings and fish as the SYNERGY NUTRITIONmedia often mentions. And yes it is, dental silver fillings contain mercury which release vapours into the mouth and air. Mercury in the air eventually settles into water or onto land where it can be washed into water. Once deposited, certain microorganisms can change it into methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish, shellfish and animals that eat fish. Methylmercury builds up more in some types of fish and shellfish than others. The levels of methylmercury in fish and shellfish depend on what they eat, how long they live and how high they are in the food chain, which is why pregnant women are advised not to consume swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tuna for example.

Mercury is also found in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is frequently added to
SYNERGY NUTRITIONsweeten foods and drinks. It looks like we can’t escape Mercury and I haven’t yet been able to find statistics on how much is present in the air and in our drinking water. Even though its regulated, potentially what we may be exposed too may be higher than what we estimate. Especially as its constantly being released in the environment and burning fossil fuels like coal and oil evidently adds to this. Mercury is also present in some vaccines. Another controversial topic and makes me wonder why mercury was placed in injections in the first place?!!                                                                                                    Mercury exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system of people of all ages. And you may have heard of it being a neurotoxin and cancer which is linked to its mutagenic effects.  Moreover it has been demonstrated that high levels of methylmercury in the bloodstream of unborn babies and young children may harm the developing nervous system, making the child less able to think and learn.

The good news is the liver’s innate detoxification processes can eliminate mercury, however its about balance as we do not want the body to have more than toxins than it can cope with. Foods that are good at chelating mercury and help it eliminate out of the body are:- Spirulina powder, Cilantro/coriander, Hemp protein, Strawberries, Rasberries, unroasted cocoa Powder, Wheat grass, Barley grass, Chlorella, acai berries and wheat flour. Many people think chlorella is a great chelating agent, but I would rate Spirulina powder as being more efficient in healing and balancing the body.

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I have found some useful information on what to do if you break a mercury thermometer or experience and a spill. Its a pdf from the Colorado department of health website. Click below:  What to do if you Spill Mercury

5 reasons not to give babies soya infant formula

There are many reasons not to give babies soya based infant formulas. I have highlighted a  5 of them below.

  1. Soya formula is processed more than cow’s milk formula. The more refined & processed a substance, the lower the nutrients it contains.
  2. Isoflavones- which have plant based components that have weak osteogenic effects, we do not know the long term safety of these in adults, let alone for babies and infants.
  3. GM ingredients and other toxic chemicals that the babies immature and developing organs and digestive system cannot process effectively.
  4. Glucose- soya formulas can be high in glucose and other sugars that can damage an infants’ teeth than the lactose in breast milk.
  5. Artificial Sweeteners- some brand contain artificial sweeteners like Aspartame, Nutrasweet, Candarel, Sucralose and Splenda, which makes them even sweeter and programmes a ‘sweet tooth’ for them. Aahh not ideal!

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Control Candida Overgrowth Naturally

I get approached by hundreds of individuals who want advice about controlling Candida overgrowth naturally. There are many faddy anti-candida protocols out there and very few candida experts so if you are unfortunate to have recurring symptoms of candida overgrowth then it can be a mind-fill as to who to contact and ask for help from.

The positive thing is that Candida overgrowth can be controlled naturally and to devise the best plan for you first and foremost is to have a one to one consultation with myself where I can check if you have Candida overgrowth by a simple saliva or blood test. Then we can talk more about your current digestion, food sensitivities and diet and how to re-balance any overgrowth of yeasts / pathogenic bacteria and address any underlying imbalances by following a two month plan.

Do  contact me on the number above to find out more on how I can help you.

SYNERGY NUTRITION- Treat Candida Overgrowth NaturallySYNERGY NUTRITION- Treat Candida Overgrowth Naturally

Reducing anxiety

A short recording on Anxiety and Panic Attacks. The message I want to get across is to support the body with the nutrients to reduce anxiety and to improve breathing by inhaling and exhaling deeper and slowly. For many of us breathing is involuntarily, i.e we don’t give it a second thought and with shallow breathing we are not ‘fully breathing’. So conscious deep breathing is the key to a healthier body and mind. We cannot live without the breath!

Saying this affirmation at least once daily may help too, as this is helping the subconscious centres of our brain:  ‘I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life. I am safe’ 

My Gold Star goes to….

My Gold star this month goes to Gabriela. Congratulations for working really hard these recent three weeks. She has taken on board all my recommendations from the first session and achieved amazing results in a short period of time. Her motivatation and will power is excellent. Wishing you continued strength & success with all your goals. ani-star-gold-glitter

 

 

I need more Nutrients please

Hello lovely people, hope you are well and enjoying the mix of sunshine and thunderstorms we are experiencing. Energetically there is much going on for every single one of us! Its got me thinking about the human body and nutritional deficiences specifically. By nutrients I mean all the vitamins and minerals, however I do meet people who are also depleted in protein, carbs and fats which to me are also nutrients. Yes even in the western world! Overfed and undernourished as its called.

Preventive health is important to me and I would like to think that we do our best to ensure we live long and healthy lives. I understand that it is easy to live by the motto of lets enjoy today and worry about tomorrow. And I’ll start that diet tomorrow.  My concerns at present stem mainly around the fact that many of you are depleted in vital nutrients and not because of consuming sufficient nutrients per se although this is one factor (especially if you are eating the same foods day in day out and your overall diet may be not balanced unless you have had it checked with a qualified nutritional therapist) BUT also that external factors like stress use up more of these nutrients. The body’s first agenda is survival so our hair, skin and nails can wait as the nutrients are delivered for energy and to help manage the stress first. A lack of nutrients can manifest as specific symptoms at a later date. Such as chronic fatigue, loss of hair, skin complaints, metabolic imbalances, digestive inflammatory conditions, heart disease and cancer of any tissue in the body. So for me its important to be mindful of what we are putting into our bodies. If your diet is repetitive and you are not feeling ‘right’ then perhaps your body is missing vital nutrients. A low Vitamin C status and the family of B- vitamins, folate and iron can be picked up readily. B12 is stored longer in the body, but it is important to not let this vitamin drop too low as it serves many roles in the body for healthy nerves (neurones) and energy production. I often recommend testing in conjunction to having your diet looked over. You are then able to confidently raise levels of nutrients quicker with the right advice and supplements.

Also a quick tip from me: before you reach for that coffee to give you a buzz- I would opt for camu came berry (any good health food store) a natural vitamin C alternative, take a capsule on your tongue and you’ll be buzzing with energy for the rest of the day. This is what nutritional therapy is all about folks!!

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