Thursday, 30 August 2012

The secret ingredient

Many thanks to Ms Haribo for her blog on getting your partner to be more healthy, I've witnessed her perseverance in this matter and it has ultimately made her boyfriend a healthier person so power to her.

Even if your partner is a real pie and chips man, remembering the old adage that the route to a man's heart is through his stomach will serve you well.

In my experience most men will eat whatever you serve them as long as it's edible so serving up healthy food when it's your turn to cook will already be doing them a favour. But the key to a full health conversion is to serve up healthy food that actually tastes good and will have them asking you to serve it again.

Whoever you're cooking for, even just yourself, having a repertoire of healthy easy recipes will keep you healthy and happy, no one should have to eat food that doesn't taste good.

I'm no great chef and probably have as many misses in the kitchen as hits, but you can benefit from my experimentation as I only post recipes that taste good and are also good for you on my recipe page (plus if I can make them anyone can).

Hot doc is also a keen recipe tester so I'll add more recipes as he finds good ones. Happy cooking!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A nudge in the right direction

Luckily for me hot doc is a pretty healthy soul and a good cook, which means I'm lucky enough to have healthy dinners cooked for me and don't find it hard to stick to my healthy habits.  But I know that having a not so healthy partner can be bit of a hindrance if you're trying to stick to a healthy diet.

So for anyone else in this predicament I thought I'd ask someone I know has had this experience to give her tips...

Miss Haribo here,

Despite the name Miss Haribo is pretty healthy. Even if she does like her 20% “naughty” time.....

Talking of naughty time...I have a rather lovely boyfriend (no this blog is not about that!), but despite our many shared interests being healthy and in shape is not one of his.

I can almost hear the shouts of “Miss Haribo you should love him as he is” “what happened to loving the person inside?” but ultimately I think if you want a long-term future with someone I want that future to not involve them dying early or having debilitating health problems, and for it to be active.  

I’ve made some headway, and he’s made loads of progress....

But what can you do about an unhealthy partner? (Apart from replace them with a hot Brazilian personal trainer)

As an economist I turned to information and incentives.....

First: information, or education. Sometimes they just don’t know about what the healthy or better option is or how diet affects you. In my case pointing out to my boyfriend that the reason he felt tired all the time was the effect of coffee and also the huge amount of carbs he ate he was able to see the patterns in how he felt and see the cause. Result: no coffee during the week and a substantial reduction in the carbs.

Second: incentives. Give them a reason to want to take the healthy option or start something. Although I don’t recommend sobbing at them and going “you’re really fat” while on holiday together.

Third: Fit healthiness into everyday choices. In my case I decided that we would start to try out new breakfast places, and that the most convenient way to get to them was by running.

Fourth: Small steps. I pointed out how much money he could save by not getting takeout everyday and switched him to supermarket ready meals instead. This has the bonus of him getting used to a more normal portion size and the nutritional information on the packet means he is less easily fooled into thinking something is a healthy option.

Fifth: Re-education. OK so one should never say anything about your boyfriends mother and I’ve never tasted her cooking, but british ladies of a certain age tend not to be all that great at  cooking vegetables. As a result I have a very reluctant vegetable eater on my hands. I always try and cook a really tasty vegetable dish whenever he comes over, and if we go out for dinner I always make sure we have some vegetable curry dishes or some vegetable sides.

Sixth: Solidarity. Sorry, but it’s not fair to ask them to eat a bowl of muesli when you are putting away a full English.

Seventh: allow the 20% naughty time............

Miss Haribo

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Super D

I like to keep up to date with research in nutrition and the latest findings on food and nutrients.  It doesn't often change my recommendations, usually reinforcing them, but it's important to keep an eye on the latest developments.

The one nutrient that I've seen mentioned more than any other over the last few months is vitamin D.  We already know that vitamin D is a very important nutrient for bone health as well as for immune function against organ cancers. However the latest research shows a significant reduction in respiratory infections in children when supplemented with vitamin D.

This was conducted in Mongolia, where sunlight is limited so natural vitamin D production would be limited, revealing the importance of children getting adequate sunlight exposure. The UK isn't exactly sun central so children with repeated respiratory infections may benefit from supplementation.

Vitamin D can be stored in the liver so you make lots during your hot summer holidays to use the rest of the year, but I don't tan easily so don't spend alot of time in the sun and take vitamin D in the winter months to keep myself topped up.   You can also get vitamin D through you diet by eating eggs and fish, so if you're vegan supplementation is much more important.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Me time

I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend.  I got home yesterday after a busy few days with the family ready to collapse on the sofa.  However after a sit down and a nice cup of white tea I perked up and realised that I had the rare treat of a free evening to myself.

Usually this would mean a movie evening ... perhaps with a face pack (glamourous I know)! But having recently read Laura Vanderkam's excellent168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
I took the opportunity to take time for one of my hobbies that I struggle to find time for and spend some time in the kitchen cooking just for myself. I poured over some cookbooks, tried out some new recipes and cooked up some food for the week. Some of it turned out well, some not so well, but either way I had a lovely evening and felt way more restored and relaxed than if I'd wasted an evening infront of the tv.

If you've got kids, partners, a busy social life, it can be easy to let others set your agenda and end up without any time for yourself, but you neglect your own needs at your peril - the affects of your mental well being  on your physical well being are already well documented, and yet still not yet fully understood or studied.  If you are feeling anxious or stressed, remember that that is a result of and feeding into biochemical reactions in your body which will be negatively affecting your cells.

Whilst life can never be stress free and relationships and children can also bring great joy into your life, we all need to be a bit selfish and take time out of ourselves on a regular basis.  Spend 10 minutes writing down what you enjoy doing just for yourself and not for the benefit of others. This could be something creative such as drawing or writing, or maybe something physical such as a dance class or going for a walk, it could be going out to a coffee shop and reading the paper in peace!  If you're stuck for things you enjoy doing solo, think of what you used to enjoy doing when you were young, single and had no ties. Once you've come up with your list find a way to make half an hour this week to do one of those activities.

Not only will you enjoy yourself in that half an hour, but you'll come back to your family more relaxed and grounded than if you spend all your time running around after them ... as my brother-in-laws t-shirt aptly states "A happy wife is a happy life"!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A healthy check

I'm fortunately not a one man operation in my crusade to spread the word on healthy eating and there are some pretty high profile nutritionists out there doing a far better job than me.

One of these is Ian Marber who setup The Food Doctor company to provide health advice through nutritionists and public information and through selling health foods.

I'm a fan of his books and also snacks, enjoying the dried bean mix and the fruit based snack bars.

Whilst browsing the food doctor website recently, I came across this nice ten point approach he's laid out for healthy eating.

I've summarised it below, but you can read it in full at:

Proper nutritional advice is not some fad diet that you can easily consolidate into a paragraph but this is actually pretty comprehensive - so if you're looking for a checklist to keep yourselves on track then stick this on your fridge, on your pc or save it into your phone as a good reminder to keep you on the straight and narrow.

1 combine food (eat protein and carbs together in all meals)
2 stay hydrated (drink water and herbal teas throughout the day)
3 mix and match - (eat a variety of foods)
4 eat little and often - (have smaller meals with snacks to balance your blood sugar rather than gorging on large meals)
5 start smart - (start the day with wholgrains and fruit with eggs, seeds or yoghurt for protein)
6 cut it out - (avoid sugar)
7 act now - (stay active and keep your activity varied)
8, 80:20 - (eat healthily 80percent of the time and indulge for 20percent, but if you're naughty go for good quality homemade treats rather than processed junk.
9 stop and eat - (make time to eat and don't multi task whilst you're eating - I really struggle with this one)
10 love fat - (the good stuff, oily fish nuts and seeds)

Everyone reading this in the UK, enjoy your day off on Monday, I'll be back on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The price of wisdom

I'm probably one of the few people who is quite happy to go to the dentist. Mainly because they always say nice things about my teeth and never have to do anything.

Lately a few of my friends have had to have their wisdom teeth extracted - a painful process necessary due to our evolution to smaller mouths but without having less teeth. My dentist assured me that due to the size of my mouth my wisdom teeth have plenty of room but this isn't the norm.

So it turns out I have an unusually large mouth! But at least I don't have to go through the process of having them removed.

But for anyone who does here are the tips I gave my friends on speeding up the post extraction recovery process.

Vitamin C and vitamin E are the most important vitamins for healing the delicate epithelial cells that line your mouth. Infact Vitamin C can be absorbed directly into the cells in your mouth, although the citric acid in fruit can be painful on damaged cells so a soluble supplement is best immediately post extraction.

Swelling is likely and opening your mouth can be painful after extraction so eating through a straw is easiest. Fruit smoothies and soups are therefore order of the day and a good source off vitamin C. Blend in some avocado, chopped nuts and seeds for some extra vitamin E. Nuts are also rich in selenium and zinc, both involved in the healing process.

Essential fats are also in order to help reduce inflammation. If you can't eat some liquid Eskimo Fish oil is an easy way to top up.

Rest is a must following any invasive procedure, your immune cells need energy to function so don't expend it being too active, or being stressed at work, just chill at home. A good gauge of when you're recovered is whether or not you feel like you could do some exercise.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Price priorities

Hopefully yesterday's blog on eating organically got some of you thinking about buying more organic food, but it has been pointed out to me that an all organic grocery trip is a pretty pricey affair!

In an ideal world we'd all. be able to afford to eat organically, but given that most of us can't, then which foods should be the priority?

Fruit and veg usually get sprayed with pesticides meaning they have higher levels on the skins, so smaller varieties with a higher skin to flesh ratio such as grapes, cherries and berries, tend to have higher levels than larger fruits. Salad leaves have higher levels for this exact reason.

Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, apples, nectarines and peaches are the other candidiates with the highest pesticide levels.

Thicker skins and rinds prevent so much absorption into the flesh and generally aren't eaten so grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, melons, avocados and bananas are less important on your organic priority list. But if you're using the peel or zest in cooking remember to buy organic.

You can also peel non-organic fruit and veg to significantly reduce the pesticide content and you should give your fruit and veg a good wash before using them, even when you buy organically as organic produce can be treated with pesticides, just at a much much lower level and only in certain circumstances.

After fruit and veg my next priority for going organic would be meat and diary produce. Non-organic farming methods involve systematic use of antibiotics and growth hormones at high levels which end up in the final produce you're eating. You wouldn't want to regularly be taking antibiotics and hormones so why would you want to eat them. Organic meat in particular can be expensive but I rarely eat meat and don't ever cook it at home so it's just not a problem.

Personally I don't differentiate when I'm shopping as organic foods aren't always available so my basked ends up about 50/50 organic to non-organic. Still it makes a noticeable difference to my food bill but I justify this extra spend and balance it out with these cost savings, which are all motivated by their health benefits but also happen to save money:
- I don't drink alcohol
- I rarely buy meat, eggs or dairy produce
- I don't buy processed snacks or ready meals
- I prepare most of my meals at home and take them to work rather than buying expensive city lunches
- I don't drink coffee so don't have an expensive starbucks habit
- I eat out only once or twice a week

We all have our own priorities for how to spend our hard earned cash, but for me health is at the top of the list and is a long-term investment to which you may not see the most significant benefits til old age. For me, living a long and healthy life is worth the price tag.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Organically better

Firstly and most importantly a major thank you to Ms Haribo for her awesome blogs last week ... they made me feel pretty lazy and also pretty inspired! I think I may be out of a job!

So onto this week ... now I (like I'm sure alot of people) like to be right, and I don't like being corrected, especially when it comes to food.  So when hot doc suggested that buying organic food may be a waste of money I needed to prove him wrong.

Now I know organic food is better for health, but hot doc wasn't going to take my word for it.  Fortunately for me I coincidentally came across this article on organic tomatoes and why they are better for you

It turns out that spraying regular fruit and veg with loads of pesticides doesn't just mean that you'll end up eating lots of nasty chemicals that your body shouldn't be exposed to, but the fact that the fruit and veg are protected from insects by these nasty chemicals means that they don't have to put in the effort to make all the antioxidants that protect them from these bugs.  The result is that fruit and veg grown non-organically have less antioxidant vitamins in them, which are the cancer fighting compounds that make them so good for us.  More bad stuff, less good stuff, it's a no brainer for me!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Miss Haribo joins the Olympians

Miss Haribo again, 

One set of games may be over but that doesn't mean that the Olympians disappear only to emerge again perfectly formed in 4 years time. They still have their other competition circuits to do, but more relevant for me....we can join them....

Jessica Ennis still runs with her local running club!

Mo Farah runs (and wins) the Bupa 10K every year. For the past few years now I watched Mo Farah stride up the embankment with a huge smile on his face, running like it's easy while I'm 7km behind him running the other way down the embankment.  Anyone can enter the Bupa 10K. It's fantastically organised and an awesome route.

In October "Queen" Victoria Pendleton will be doing her best to try and beat me in a 80km (or 40km) bike ride. Sorry boys, these are women only (although support will be very welcome). There are a number of Cycletta events all round the country, taking in some beautiful scenery. It's a nice alternative to endurance running too, especially as running puts a lot of impact on the body. Plus unlike the marathon you don't have to train in February when it's cold! 

Obviously I'm never going to come close to winning any of the races I enter but I can still enjoy the feeling of trying to do my best, challenging myself and feeling the support from the cheering crowds.

Miss Haribo

Ps. I would like to point out that the Olympics aren't over. The Paralympics are coming in September, which are going to be fantastic. But I also think it's useful to remember sometimes to be thankful for the bodies we have got rather than focusing on what we want to improve. I know I'm lucky to be able to do what I do, and there are many people out there who cannot. (Yes Miss Haribo's Olympic sapometer has gone through the roof.)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Miss Haribo podiums

Miss Haribo here,

Ready for decathlon part 2? This should tone and work your entire body.

Day 1
Day 2

Warm up for about five minutes with a gentle run

Hurdles: I’ve stolen this from Perri Shakes Drayton’s workout for Nike training club
1)Alternating froggers for one minute (basically put yourself into a plank position, jump one leg to the front and outside your hands, then jump it back, jump the other leg to the front)
2)Single leg hops for one minute
3) Slow mountain climbers for one minute . Push up position, bring one knee up towards your chest in between your arms, contracting through your abs. Bring your leg bag. Repeat one the other side.
Repeat * 3.

Discus throw:
4) Forearm plank. 1 minute.
5) Stand on one leg for 30 seconds. And then swap. If it’s easy....keep your eyes shut.  

Pole vault:
6) Situps 1 minute.
7) Reverse crunches 1 minute
8) Hill runs: run for two minutes at a slow comfortable pace: 45 seconds at each of the following
4%,5%,6.5%, 7%  Recover at 2% for two minutes. Repeat.
I’d do this three times.

Javelin throw:
9)Power cleans. As taken from the livestrong site: “Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a barbell at your feet. Bend down and grasp the barbell with an overhand grip and your hands just slightly outside of your legs. Keep your arms straight, lift your chest, drop your hips and make sure your lower back is not rounded. From this "get set" position, drive with your legs to lift the bar off of the floor. As the bar approaches hip level, pull with your arms and heave the bar up toward your shoulders. As the bar comes up, rotate your hands so you catch the bar at shoulder level with your elbows below and forwards of your hands. Turn your hands over and roll the bar down your body to your hips and then bend forward to lower it to the ground before repeating.”
10) Wood chops: get a weight or kettlebell. Stand with your legs apart bring the kettle bell over your head and try to wham it down to about knee height (not on your knees), and then lift it up again. 
1500 metres:
You’re probably pretty tired by now. So test your endurance.
Run 10 minutes at a 80% pace. But: every 30 seconds add between 0.2 and 0.3km/hr to your speed.

Collect gold medal.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Miss Haribo's perfect ten

Miss Haribo again

I may be showing my age but my brother and I played Daley Thompson’s Supertest so much on the spectrum when we were  kids that we wore out the keyboard. I’ve loved seeing Daley and his moustache around this Olympics. So this decathlon workout is for him. (That and I couldn’t get the heptathlon to divide neatly into two).

Day 1
Day 2
Day 1 is below. Day 1 is all about getting power in your legs. These really help not just with your ability to jump (which I need for parkour) but you’ll notice your every day running speed increasing. Plus strengthening those calves helps with injury.

Day 1:

Warm up with a gentle jog for five minutes.

100 metres – sprints. Time for some “over distance running”: Sprint 200 metres *4 with a two minute cool down inbetween each one. 90% of maximum effort
Repeat this section three times one minute for each exercise:
Long jump – Box blasts: Step with one foot onto a step. Push down on your foot and jump up, bend your oter knee up at the same time, land. Keep repeating for 30 seconds then switch sides.
Shot put -  Crazy Ivans  (Sitting on the mat. take the medicine ball from your right side, and then lift it straight up over your head until your arms are straight, then back down. Switch to the other side halfway through   ) or chest push
High jump –  Calf raises. Stand on the floor and rise up using only your calf muscles. Four sets of ten repetitions. If you want add weights. Or lengthen the repetitions.

Then to finish
400 metres – Sprint 400 metres * 4. 80% effort. Two minutes at base pace inbetween each one.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Miss Haribo goes for gold!

Miss Haribo here,

I've been pretty inspired by the Olympics (thank you provider of men in tight shorts on TV). So I thought I'd high jump onto the band wagon and do some olympics related blogs.

Last week I had an amazing night. I went to a Q and A session with Paula Radcliffe and Carl Lewis as part of a tribute to Paula Radcliffe. The two of them were both pretty fabulous, incredibly intelligent and surprisingly witty. Paula was exceptionally lovely. Watching Carl Lewis clearly admire Paula's body and tell her about it as she came on was a hilarious highlight.

It was also amazing to see Carl Lewis give practical advice to an aspiring long jumper; Carl gave him some things to work on and I could just picture the poor guy trying to tell his coach that "Carl Lewis told him his training was wrong".

They talked a lot about what it was like to experience the Olympics both on the inside and the outside. But the big takeaway was when Paula was  talking about cross country running. She said that after she 'only' came second in her first cross country race her father took her out running and up a hill and said thathe was going to teach her to run off hills. Her father said that everyone always likes to relax because they've made it to the top and think they can rest, but if you keep going off that hill then you can get ahead of the rest of that bunched up field.

Apart from the obvious life metaphor what interested me the most was that she said that she used that lesson several years later to win the junior cross country. It's just a little lesson, but it stayed with her forever and got her to the top. One of the great things about Emilie's approach to nutrition and health is that it's only small changes to make, they make a big difference and you can keep them for life.

Miss Haribo

ps. Paula was a total inspiration and such a good reminder of how important the mental aspect of training is. I'm dedicating my runs (such as they are to her as part of nike's #legendsrunforever campaign).

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Passing the baton

With three days to go on my food challenge I'm almost up to 80 foods so I think I'll make 100 easily.

I haven't eaten hugely differently to usual, I've just done less recycling - so not having dinner leftovers for lunch. It's required a bit more cooking, but not a lot, and has generally left me more satisfied with my meals as they've all been different. In particular I've had a different breakfast everyday which is pretty unusual for me, but definitely a habit I'll try and keep up.

I'm not sure I can be bothered to keep up the counting though, instead I'm going to set myself a new challenge of not buying the same food two shops in a row. By forcing myself to buy different foods my diet will naturally stay more varied and make me try some new recipes and expand my cooking repertoire.

Next week I'm passing the blogging baton to the very capable Ms Hairbo for some more Olympics inspired blogging and a welcome break from me! Enjoy!

Ps Today's food additions for those who are interested:
Chopped dates
Dark chocolate (yum!)
Rice crackers
Curry leaves
Organic chicken
Green chilli
Agave syrup
Organic eggs
Basil tofu

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Olympic overdose

A lot of city jobs involve looking at a screen all day, something that most of us will attest is pretty tiring.

And it's not just tiring on the eyes - using or watching any lit screen is stimulating to the nervous system and therefore can induce a stress response. Therefore going home and unwinding in front of a tv or logging onto facebook is not a good antidote to a day staring at a computer screen.

I'm not someone who usually watches a lot of tv, especially during the day, but I have to admit I've become swept up in the Olympics and consequently have had the tv on most evenings and a fair amount of time on the weekend.

Obviously this is not the stuff of a double-blind placebo controlled study, but I've definitely noticed I've had less energy since watching more television.

We all need a screen free day every week as an antidote to our over stimulating lives, to recharge, de stress and also to break the screen habit.

As with all over indulgences I'm going to get myself back on the straight and narrow with a tv detox once the olympics are over. Instead I'll use the time for reading, going to the gym, catching up with friends and taking up some new outdoors habits, all of which will make me feel energised rather than drained.

ps today's additions to my food list for my 100 foods in a week challenge are:
Quinoa flakes
Rice milk
Rice bran
Chopped brazil nuts
Vanilla essence
Blackstrap molasses
Sesame oil
Pak choi
Poppy seeds
Flagolet beans
New potatoes
Risotto rice

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Mixing it up

The first day of the 100 foods challenge means you obviously clock up lots of new ingredients. Therefore my list of new additions for today is relatively short, but still I made an effort to eat some different foods when I'd usually have eaten quite similar meals and I'm up to 49 different foods in two days.

Eating this way means buying more foods in smaller quantities which isn't usually the most economical way to shop.

This is where freezing can come in - instead of eating leftover dinner the next day, freeze your leftovers and eat them the next week to keep up the variety.

It also helps if you live with someone so you can share your dinner, as cooking and eating for one is more likely to lead to waste of fresh food.

For durable foods it's much easier - I have a big box in my cupboard containing a whole range of bags of different nuts, seeds and dried fruits. I add these to my breakfast each morning so it's easy to eat a different type every day of the week. I also use different spices on my brown rice porridge so will start rotating allspice, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger.

Herbs are another easy food to rotate. Although they go off quickly you can freeze them in small batches and then add them to your cooking - basil, coriander and parsley are all tasty options.

Rotating oils and fats in your cooking also helps vary the flavours and balance out the ratios of the different fats in your diet. I cook with olive oil or coconut fat, and pour cold walnut, flax or sesame oil on my salads.

Today's additions:
Plain doritos (don't tell anyone!)
Black pepper

Monday, 6 August 2012

Keeping things interesting

I'm really enjoying my 100 foods in a week challenge, even just after one day. Okay so I stopped counting after breakfast, but looking at my list below I'll easily make it. Plus it's already made me approach my food choices and food planning in a different way, making sure I don't eat the same foods tomorrow.

Not only does eating different foods everyday help increase the range of nutrients in your diet, it also helps keep food interesting. When eating healthily it's easy to find a few easy dishes you know are ok to eat and then eat these over and over again. However your taste buds will quickly get bored leaving you more likely to look for naughty treats or unhealthy foods to satisfy you.

Instead if you keep things varied you're more likely to feel satisfied with your food and stay on the straight and narrow.

For anyone who's interested here are the ingredients I can remember from today:

Rice protein powder
Cherry juice
Juice of half a lime
Brown rice cooked in Kala coconut milk
Sunflower seeds
Flaked almonds
Frozen summer fruits (cherries, cranberries, strawberries)

Gluten free pasta
Kidney beans
Pumpkin seeds
Baby salad leaves
Olive oil

Mixed seeds:
Soy sauce

Dinner (out):
Mixed seafood (calamari, mussels, prawns)
White wine
Fresh mint tea

Sunday, 5 August 2012

First one to 100 wins...

‪One goal of this blog is to bring you healthy ideas in easy to read bite size chunks.

However sometimes it's worth the time to read something a bit longer when it's really worthwhile. I'd apply that definition 100 percent to this article written about how to make decisions about nutrition and food in the face of endless fads and extreme news coverage. Many thanks to Ms Haribo for suggesting it. 

It's really worth a read but for those of you who can't be bothered here's one tip from the article that I liked and will be trying to put into practice myself: ‬

'Rule for a balanced diet: try to eat a hundred different ingredients every week. That was her only philosophy. Carrots, cashews, cilantro, black pepper, goat cheese, salmon, Brussels sprouts, olive oil, flax seeds, brown rice – it's been ten already. Broccoli, eggs, millet, quinoa, mint, apples, raisins, sesame oil, black beans, red cabbage – another ten. If you open your mind and enjoy cooking, it actually goes faster than you think. The great thing about such a precept (or shall we say, lifestyle), is that it makes you try new types of food; as it turns out, you get to know a lot of different veggies; when you do try a new type of food, more often than not you'll be trying a new recipe, which means you'll actually be cooking, which means you'll be eating less preservatives and less processed foods; most importantly, whatever you eat, you won't overeat it; even the stuff which is considered nasty under some circumstances might end up bringing some benefits if used in reasonable amount.‬'

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Winding down

Something I omitted from my previous blog on sports performance was the benefits of a cool down.

Now most of us know we should cool down and stretch after exercise but tight schedules and probably not thinking it's that beneficial means that most of us skip the cool down.

It might seem easy relative to the rest of your workout, but just 5 minutes of low resistance cardio at the end of your workout can make a noticeable difference in your recovery reducing muscle soreness and speeding up the rate at which your muscles get stronger and fitter.

When you cool down you keep oxygen flow to the muscles and give them a chance to clear the built up lactic acid which can make them feel sore.

Your heart is also a muscle and cooling down let's it recover in a controlled way instead of going through the shock of going straight from a high heart rate down to a resting one.

But don't take my word for it - watch any Olympic swimming and you'll know that straight after a race the swimmers go straight into the cool down pool for a controlled cool down to make sure they're in the best condition for their next race.