Saturday, 30 June 2012

Milk Vs Antioxidants


This blog has looked into the benefits of antioxidants and why they are so important to us. Today, we will look into what affect milk has on our antioxidant consumption and find out whether it is a good idea or not.

Why We Want Antioxidants

Basically, we want antioxidants. Essentially, antioxidants fight free radicals in the body and stop the negative impact that these free radicals have on our body. For more detailed information on antioxidants, try this page.

Milk versus Antioxidants

So while we want antioxidants, it appears that milk may have a negative affect on all the good work that antioxidants can do. Vegetables, berries, tea and chocolate are some of the major foods that contain antioxidants. Studies show, however, that the benefits enjoyed from consumption of these foods are heightened when eaten alone, or as part of a meal with other foods.

Experts have also found that consuming these products alongside milk can have a damaging affect on the antioxidant activity – decreasing it essentially. Drinking a black tea, for example, can have fantastic antioxidant activity. Adding milk to this tea, however, will decrease the benefits of the antioxidants in the tea.

Why does Milk have a Negative Affect on Antioxidants?

Research appears to suggest that some proteins found in milk consumption limit the absorption of antioxidant molecules into our system, rendering them useless!

So, it is vitally important for our health that we consume foods with antioxidants but we must be careful not to associate these with milk to get the most out of them.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Bodyweight Workouts

Bodyweight Exercises

When we think of working out and getting fit, we generally picture a gym or health club, packed with different machines and weights. However, it does not have to be like this. There are many reasons for wanting to use bodyweight workouts, whether this is just to aid with weight workouts or to use them as our sole method of exercise.

Benefits of Bodyweight Workouts
1) Convenience - weight free workouts require little to no equipment so can be done anywhere, at anytime and by anyone! Excuses suggesting that we have no time to go to the gym don’t apply here as we can workout anywhere. 

2) Core and Balance - research suggests that working out without weights, doing activities such as Yoga and Pilates, can help to strengthen the core and improve our balance, posture and form. 

3) Target All Muscle Groups - obviously, when we are working out we want to exercise our whole body. With bodyweight exercises this can still be achieved and each muscle group can be targeted for exercise. 

Classic Bodyweight Exercises

There are so many bodyweight exercises out there but the following list will identify some of the most common and basic bodyweight exercises that should be part of everybody’s workouts!

1. Push-Ups
2. Pull-Ups
3. Squats
4. Lunges
5. Sit-ups/Crunches
6. The Plank
7. Tricep Dips
8. Walking/Running/Jogging

Bodyweight exercises can form part of anyone’s exercise regime. They can form the whole workout, or be used to supplement other workouts that we may be doing. As with all exercise programmes, though, it is important that we warm up, stretch before and after, and practice good form while exercising. This way we will be safe and get the most from our workouts.

Saturday, 23 June 2012


More Muscle – Less Time

This blog entry will look at ‘Supersets’, which is a concept designed to increase the rate in which we build muscle. The basic idea involves building more muscle in a shorter period of time.

What are supersets?

Supersets basically involve working the same muscles with two different exercises without a rest in between. An example would be doing a set of bench presses followed by a set of push ups.

How do we get bigger muscles?

With little rest in between each set, a workout that takes half an hour can now take 20-25 minutes. Using the example above, we would do 10 repetitions of the bench press and then immediately complete 20 repetitions of push ups. This works similar muscle groups without rest. We can then move on to the next muscle groups and complete, for example, chin ups followed by lat pull downs. We continue the exercises and repeat the routine. Two or three supersets will be sufficient!

We may find that we enjoy doing supersets, and we may find that they are simply not for us. As with any exercise regime it is always better to be comfortable and so we should only complete supersets in a controlled and safe manner!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Essential Vitamins for the Overweight

Often our diet is not good enough, or we have off days. At times like this we can supplement our diet with vitamin tablets. However, if we are carrying a few extra kilograms that we don’t want then there are certain vitamins that we must ensure we are getting enough of, whether this is through food or supplements.

Vitamins C, D and E are essential vitamins in this scenario. With extra weight, our bones take more load making them weaker. This is where vitamin D is vital. Vitamin D is a bone strengthening vitamin and can help to counter the extra weight being put on the bones.

Being overweight also increases the chances of developing diabetes. Vitamins C and E come in here. Both this vitamins help to protect blood vessels and to control blood sugar levels.

So, while we may just think that any extra weight will look bad, there are other issues that can arise and it is important that we are aware of them and combat them.

Saturday, 16 June 2012


Identifying Our Goals

When we first decide to start exercising again we often rush to the gym and get a membership or buy a new piece of home exercise equipment – we do not even think about what our goals are. When exercising and working out there is always a reason behind it, and usually we have a goal that we are aiming for as well. To get the most from our workout it is definitely important for us to identify our goals.

Why do we need to identify our goals?

When we give ourselves goals and targets to aim for, we are far more likely to achieve it. However, it is important to be specific. Saying that we want to lose weight and get fit is not specific enough. Instead, we should say that we want to lose 5kg and be able to run for 10 minutes.

Making plans

It is also vitally important that we make plans in order for us to achieve our goals. This will vary depending on our goal but it is essential. We need to look at both exercise and diet when making our plans and change these factors accordingly.

To conclude

Identifying what we want to achieve from our exercise regime is vitally important as we are far more likely to achieve our goals, but it is important that we are specific on what we set out to do and plan our diet and training regime around the specific plans that we make.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Are We Taking More Risks With Our Food?

According to the BBC, we are taking more risks with the food we are eating. A survey suggests that risks are being taken with our food due to money constraints. It is suggested that we are trying to make more of our food, trying to stretch it further. There are a number of points to address with these issues.

First of all, money constraints. This is a clearly an issue for many people, and it is vitally important that we are careful with our money and use it wisely, even on food. However, we should always be careful of what we eat. I truly believe that we can control our spending and still eat healthily and safely. There is no need to go past 'use-by' dates.

Secondly, we need to sensible about things. Just because food is passed a 'sell-by' date does not mean that it is dangerous. A 'use-by' date is a different matter as this suggests potential harm. But a sell-by date is not something we should panic about. If it looks and smells bad, then we should not use it. Sensible! Let's not forget, we have not always had to rely on these dates on our food!

It is also important to note that we can always look to the freezer to preserve our food. If we know we are not going to use something then why not freeze it. This will give it some extra life and we can still enjoy it!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Free Gyms

Free Gyms

I have seen mentioned, many times, free gyms in parks. I assumed that this was an American tradition, and something that has passed us by in England. However, I thought it was a surperb idea and certainly one that should be used in England. The more I read, however, the more it seemed that this idea was apparently being utilised in England too. However, I had never seen one of these gyms before in my life. It was a great pleasure, therefore, when I saw a brand new one installed in a park not far from where I live.

As Good As a Real Gym?

Now, obviously, these park gyms are not as good or advanced as a professional sports gym or fitness club, and the equipment is nowhere near as good. However, it is more the fact that these are a way for ANYBODY to have a chance to use some equipment and exercise a few muscles.  I truly believe that initiatives like this should be encouraged further, and installed in more parks for everyone to use.

I am totally aware, though, of the dangers of abuse and vandelism, but a lot of good may come from them too. I am hoping these will continue to be installed.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Finding Inspiration

What is Your Inspiration?

This is only going to be a short post today, however, it is still an important one. One of the most important aspects of health and fitness is finding an inspiration. This, ultimately, is what makes get up and go. There can be many different places from which inspiration can derive and it is important that we find ours.

At a basic level, inspiration to exercise and eat right should come from the fact that it can contribute to a long and healthy life. However, there are other things that we can use for inspiration too. I remember when I first started lifting weights, for example, it was to impress girls! When I was overweight, I still played football and other sports, and this inspired me to get back in shape as I was not performing to a decent enough level and was simply not fit enough.

Basically, it is important that we find our inspiration, in whatever it might be, and use this to motivate us to reach our fitness and health goals.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Is Chocolate Good For You?

We all want chocolate to be good for us right? Well, this blog will examine what, if any, health benefits we can get from consuming chocolate.

Is chocolate good for you?

It has been strongly suggested that the answer to this question is yes. There are, according to research, health benefits associated with eating chocolate, particularly dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains the most amount of cocoa and this is where the good stuff is found.

What are the health benefits of dark chocolate? Why is dark chocolate good for you?

Research indicates that there may be a number of health benefits to consuming dark chocolate. It is good for our heart; eating dark chocolate two or three times a week can help to lower blood pressure and in turn will help our heart! It can also impact our brain; research indicates that a healthy blood flow, helped by consuming dark chocolate, can improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate can help to control our blood sugar level and this can help to prevent type 2 diabetes. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals in the body. It can help with tooth enamel as it contains theobramine and this has been shown to harden our tooth enamel. Finally, it contains high levels of vitamins and minerals; potassium, copper, magnesium and iron in particular.

Avoid Milk

Research suggests that drinking milk with our chocolate may neutralise some of the health benefits that we can gain from consuming chocolate.

Can I Eat Lots of Chocolate?

Unfortunately, this does not mean that we can just eat endless amounts of chocolate. There are still calories to think about! However, we can certainly eat chocolate, relatively guilt free as part of our calorie intake for the day.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

An Essential Exercise - The Lunge


This blog entry is going to look into an exercise that is often overlooked, but is a very effective bodyweight exercise that requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. We will look into how to do lunges as well as the advantages and benefits of doing lunges. This is an exercise that is still used in the military today, so it is clearly a vital exercise.

How to do Lunges

Lunges are a simple exercise to do and can be done anywhere, making them a useful exercise to utilize. To perform a lunge we begin with our feet shoulder width apart. From here, we step forward with one foot so that it is in front of us. As we step we bend at the knee and hip so that our rear leg is almost in contact with the floor. We then bring ourselves back to the starting position. It is important that when we are performing lunges that we keep our head and shoulders relaxed and brace our abdomen.

What are the benefits of lunges?

Lunges are designed to strengthen the thigh muscles and the glute, as well as other muscles. This is a benefit in itself, any exercise that targets more than one muscle is a good thing! Lunges also help to develop and improve our balance, provide a core workout and are good for the spine.

What muscles do lunges work?

As mentioned earlier, lunges work a variety of muscles. They primarily work the quadriceps but also hit a number of other muscles. The glutes, the hamstrings, the core muscles and the soleus. On top of working these muscles lunges are good for the spine!

Friday, 1 June 2012

A Weight Free Workout

A bodyweight exercise programme

Many of us cannot afford the time or cost of a gym membership. On top of that, many of us struggle to get any training in at all. However, there should be no real excuse not to exercise. Reading around the internet I happened to come across another weight free workout that is very effective. For this workout we only need two pieces of equipment; a Swiss ball and a Pull Up bar. This workout is known as the Bodyweight 200, as it requires 200 repetitions in total!

How Often to do the Workout?

This workout is designed to be completed 3 times a week, and the source suggests Monday, Wednesday and Friday. However, it is more important to fit it in to our own schedule, so any combination will be sufficient.

The Workout

It is important that the workout is completed in one go, with only short rests in between the exercises.

1. 30 repetitions of Prisoner Squats
2. 30 push-ups
3. 10 jumps
4. 10 Swiss-ball leg curls
5. 10 Swiss-ball pikes
6. 20 step ups
7. 5 pull ups or chin ups
8. 30 forward lunges
9. 20 tucked-elbow push-ups
10. 15 inverted rows
11. 15 prisoner squats
12. 5 pull ups or chin ups

If this is too easy then repeat the workout with only a short rest. This workout will work the entire body, can be done at home and requires very little equipment.