Fast functional exercise routine!

Are you time-crunched? Never have time to fit in a workout?

If this applies to you, then this fast functional workout is perfect for you! Take 10 minutes out of the day when you have a break to do these simple exercises:

Perform the exercises in a circuit, moving from one to the next:
1. Prisoner Lunge - 30 sec
2. Front Plank - 30 sec
3. Clamshell - 30 sec left leg; 30 sec right leg
4. Side Plank - 30 sec left; 30 sec right
5. Mountain Climbers - 30 sec in total

Complete the circuit 2 times for a 10 minute workout. You can increase the number of times through the circuit (or the time spent on each exercise) to lengthen the workout should you decide you want more of a challenge! 

If you're unsure of any of the exercises, Google them or message us at WhittleFit. Enjoy!

 

The Truth About Sugar: Part 1

After posting the Snack Attack article a few weeks ago, there has been a great deal of interest in what Nutritional Therapist Caren Richards wrote about snacking and healthy alternatives; so we spoke again, this time about one of the biggest hidden toxins in our diet and something that can be as addictive as cocaine - sugar

The negative effects that sugar can have on our health have been prolific in the media over the past few months. Here is a quick reminder of why we shouldn’t eat too many sweet foods:-

  • Sugar is an empty calorie, it doesn’t contain any vitamins or minerals and has no nutritional value
  • Sugar can induce weight gain
  • High blood sugar decreases the immune system's ability to fight bacterial infections.
  • Sugar can cause tooth decay
  • Too much sugar causes a blood glucose spike followed by a crash and a then a desire for more sugar – a sugar craving cycle
  • The sugar craving cycle can lead to anxiety, fatigue, irritability and mood swings
  • Sugar can increase reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can damage cells and tissues
  • Sugar can interfere with the absorption of minerals and cause some nutrients to be lost
  • Sugar can make our skin age by changing the structure of collagen

When we eat sugar, it increases the levels of our feel good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, so not only does it taste good but it makes us feel good too. The problem is that we end up needing more and more sugar to give us the same intensity of sugar ‘high’ and if we try to cut out the sugar foods can initially taste bland and uninteresting. It is these facts together with clinical trials that have led some scientists to conclude that sugar is addictive; some suggest that it is more addictive than cocaine! 

Read more: The Truth About Sugar: Part 1

3 quick fixes to reinvigorate your running training

Cardiff running coachIf you need to reinvigorate your running training and give your running a boost, try these 3 quick fixes to make an instant difference! 
 
To break out of a running rut you need to change up your training and add in some different types of running. If you always run long and slow, you’ll become very proficient at running long and slow; which means when you try to run faster your body is simply not used to it, which results in fatigue and potential injury. Here are my 3 quick fixes to turn around your running fortunes: 

1. Interval training: 
Ditch some of your long slow runs for faster interval sessions. These interval sessions involve adding in some faster efforts into your longer slower paced runs, 30 to 60 seconds works really well. Some studies have shown that runners can improve their speed by up to 7 percent by cutting their running distance in half and adding in 50 to 100m faster efforts into their running program. 

2. Progression runs
A progression run, or a build run, starts off at a slower pace and then continually picks up the speed of the run until you finish your chosen route. So you may run 10 minutes really easy, then 10 minutes easy, then 10 minutes steady, then 10 minutes hard, etc, etc. This is a really good way of adding in some faster running without absolutely killing yourself in the process!
 

Winter Cycling Improvement Program

Wattbike Cardiff

How would you like to improve your cycling power and performance over the winter months?

Well, our brand new 12 week Winter Cycling Improvement Program does just that! We use the state-of-the-art Wattbike to accurately train and test your power and track your progress over 12 weeks, in conjunction with a bespoke progressive training plan.

The Wattbike gives essential feedback on performance and monitors improvements. Each athlete will have an initial 20 minute threshold test and throughout the program this test will be repeated to ensure progress (you will get tested on Week 1, Week 6 and Week 12). This allows us to keep you working in the right training zones and get the best training response possible. These improvements on the Wattbike will then directly translate over onto the road ready for 2014. 
 

Snack Attack!

I was chatting with Nutritional Therapist Caren Richards recently about snacking and what were some healthy alternatives; this is what she had to say:

I often see clients in clinic who eat 3 healthy balanced meals per day but still feel below par or are putting on weight. In many cases it is the foods that they eat in between meals that are causing the problem. Crisps, cakes, biscuits, sugary cereal bars and chocolate are high calorie, high sugar, high fat foods that have very little nutritional benefit. These snacks will affect blood sugar balance which may cause hunger pangs thereby increasing the temptation to reach for another ‘snack fix’. The timing of the snack is important too, night time snacking can raise total and LDL cholesterol and reduced fat oxidation.

It is not all bad news though, eating a small snack that contains protein has been found to reduce hunger, increase fullness, delay subsequent eating and lower the amount eaten at the next meal. A recent study showed that children ate 72% fewer calories when protein was included in their snack compared to snacks that did not contain protein. Snacks are also a great way to improve your nutrient intake, for example adding nuts and seeds will give your magnesium and zinc levels a boost!

So here are a few ideas:-

  • Small portion of fruit (e.g. strawberries) with mixed nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)
  • Natural or greek yogurt with added nuts and seeds
  • Veggie sticks and hummus (carrots, peppers, etc.)
  • Wholegrain pocorn (Popcorn exerted a stronger effect on short-term satiety than potato chips in a recent study)

For more information on healthy snacking or any nutritional topics, contact Caren via her website or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.