London Marathon Training – Week 9

Week 9 was trying to get back to ‘normal’ mileage after a couple of weeks of weeks of lower mileage (by my previous standards anyway)!

 

Monday morning was hard work. As I had spent last Saturday and Sunday on my coaching course I had to move my long run to today. 22 miles on a Monday morning is never something to look forward to and it was struggle to get myself motivated. However, once out I managed an easy effort 22 miles with no issues at all and had the self-satisfaction of a long run to start off the week.

 

Tuesday was a slightly shorter day than a normal Tuesday due to the exertions of yesterday. I started with a 2 mile walk with my wife and then I had a Running Buddy session where we ran 5 miles of Fartleks around Knighton Park, giving her the best average pace she has achieved since her comeback. Tuesday evening was a 4 mile run to the club in what I can only describe as hideous conditions. It was chucking it down with rain, I managed to run through every ankle deep puddle possible, as well as getting splashed by virtually every car that passed me. I was extremely grumpy by the time I got to the club. We then ran another 7.3 miles in improving conditions to make it 11.3 miles for the evening and 16.3 miles for the day.

 

Wednesday was a planned rest day due to over 38 miles in the previous two days, so instead of running I spent an hour doing leg strengthening and stretching exercises to try to ease my still-niggling calf.

 

Thursday started with a 6 mile general run. No specific pace or plan so just ran at a comfortable pace in the wind and rain (again). Thursday evening was the Wigston Phoenix hills/speed session around Victoria Park and University Road. I got there a little earlier and craftily got in 6 extra reps of Peace Walk before meeting with the rest of the club. I ran hard for the session and tried to get in extra reps where possible. I managed 7.25 miles in total for the session and 13.25 miles for the day.

 

Friday was an easy day. I started with a 5k walk with my wife, immediately followed by a 4 mile very easy effort recovery run. I then spent 30 minutes doing more leg strengthening and stretching exercises as well as some core exercises.

 

Saturday was back to my normal long run. This was a tough run that was 6 miles easy, 4 miles at marathon pace, 2 miles easy, 4 miles at marathon pace and 2 miles easy to finish. All felt nice and easy for the first 6 miles and my left calf was weirdly feeling fine. The first block of MP miles came out at an average of 6.16 pace but felt as though I was battling the pace. The second set of MP miles were at an average of 6.26 pace and I just could not go any faster. I’m not sure if it is a cumulation of the weekly mileage and the extra leg strengthening exercises, if my left leg, while not hurting was just not tracking and working properly, or if I was just mentally fatigued and didn’t push hard enough. Whichever it was, it was frustrating. However, as I tell others, one bad run doesn’t make a bad runner so I have to put it to one side, not let it bother me and move on with next week.

 

Sunday was just a 4.93 mile recovery run to marshal at Aylestone Junior parkrun. Luckily, my run was before the torrential rain that hit towards the end of the parkrun. I had to feel sorry for the last few kids finishing in hideous conditions.

 

I managed to get back to normal mileage for the week, but my left calf is still niggling and while it is now more intermittent than before, it is still far from being right. So next week is going to be more stretching, rolling and glute strengthening, as well as trying to keep my mileage around the 70 mile mark.

 

Week 9 Totals: 78.6 miles covered over 8 runs, plus 3 leg strengthening sessions and some basic core exercises on my BOSU ball.

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Martin Hulbert – Personal Trainer Leicester & Online Personal Trainer

London Marathon Training – Week 8

Week 8 was mainly front-loaded and managing my niggling calf that started better than last week but still not right.

 

Monday started really well with a 10 mile fartlek run. This included the first 4 miles being run progressively, followed by 3 x short steep hill sprints and a fast mile before a couple more hill sprints on the way home.

 

Tuesday was another long double day, comprising of an easy 10 miler in the morning and then an 11.6 mile run, mainly with Wigston Phoenix and with a few faster miles in the middle. My calf held up well although I had a few weird twinges at the start of the evening run.

 

Wednesday was just an easy effort 4 mile recovery run with my calf feeling a little better than last night.

 

Thursday morning was an 8.2 mile easy effort run. Now, when I say easy effort, what I mean is that it would have been easy had Storm Doris not decided to get involved. As well as the strong winds, which never actually seemed to be behind me, there was the driving rain and dodging twigs and flying debris. Thursday evenings run was a speed/hills session with Wigston Phoenix. I completed 15 reps of various hills at about 75% effort due to my calf still not being quite right.

 

Friday was my last run of the week due to a coaching course I was attending on Saturday and Sunday. I set off with two runs in mind. It was either going to be a 16 mile run with 6-8 miles at marathon pace or, if my calf didn’t feel right, a 4 mile recovery run. I knew from the start that the 16 miler probably wasn’t my wisest of ideas. I got to a mile away from home and decided to be sensible. There was no point in running for 4 miles and potentially making it worse so I ran home to limit it to 2 miles, knowing I had 2 days rest to come.

 

My calf may mean that I have to abandon my sub 2:45 ambitions, but I’d rather do that and be able to get to the start line than push on regardless and break myself.

 

Week 8 Totals: 52.1 miles covered over 7 runs, plus 2 strength sessions and some basic core exercises on my BOSU ball.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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Martin Hulbert – Personal Trainer Leicester & Online Personal Trainer

 

London Marathon Training – Week 4

This was my first planned cutback week of the year, but as my wife was away for the week on business I thought I would take the opportunity of pushing on with the miles. My legs, although a bit tired, felt ok to continue through one more week of high mileage.

 

Monday became another double-run day as I had a new client who wanted me to run with him to kick-start his Half-marathon training. Therefore, I slowed down my morning run to an easy-effort 6 miles so I would be fresh for later. The Running Buddy run was far better than I expected. After Strava-stalking I thought that we would run for a maximum of 4 miles and I would throw some fartleks in to test his speed. However, while chatting along we managed 6 miles, including fartleks and finishing faster than we started. A very positive start to his training.

 

Tuesday was my long double-day, once again aiming for 20+ miles. My first run was 10.2 miles of easy effort running. My calf muscles had started to feel tired so I’d do extra rolling and stretching when I got home. I ran 4 miles, as usual, before the running club run. With my calf feeling better I decided to push the pace a little bit down Great Central Way and then back though South Wigston. My 21st mile of the day was 6.33, which I was very pleased with having followed a few miles at a similar pace earlier in the run.

 

I awoke on Wednesday with very tight calf muscles. I went out for a very easy 4 mile recovery run and whilst my legs felt better by the end of it, my calves were not quite right. Having the experience of knowing that my calves are my weak point and most likely muscle to injure, I called Function Jigsaw and was lucky enough to be seen by Lauren on Wednesday afternoon. I would like to say it was a nice massage, but being honest it was bloody sore. However, it was much needed and did loosened them off.

 

With my wife away, and her very kindly leaving her car with me as it was booked in for a service, Thursday was another day of four runs. As with last week, the garage tried to convince me that they could drop me home or lend me a courtesy car and just couldn’t understand why I would want to run home and back later on. An easy 4.5 mile run home felt very strange after my massage. My legs felt heavy and it took until halfway through the 4.2 miles back to the garage in the afternoon for them to feel almost back to normal again.

The third run of the day was the Next Running Group and the tenth and final week of their Couch to 5K plan. As they had ran 5k the previous week we embarked on another tour of Enderby. However, with my sense of navigation severely lacking and their sense of achievement growing by the minute, when we finally got back to the start point we had ran for 4 miles. Once again, massive congratulations all round as they finally realised that when I told them on week one that they would be able to run 5k by the end of week ten I wasn’t lying to them.

My final run of the day was the Wigston Phoenix speed session at Victoria Park. Running late due to the extra few minutes with Next, I was 15 minutes late by the time I caught up with everyone. I ran as hard as I could for the limited time left of the session and finished with some hard hill reps. Over the four runs of the day I had totalled 17.6 miles.

 

Friday was a definite recovery day. Just over 4 miles ran at a very easy effort and my legs started to feel normal again.

 

Saturday should have been 14 miles with 6 miles in the middle at Marathon Pace. However, waking with a thick head due to one too many beers at the running club awards presentation on Friday night, it was obvious that my run was not going to be the best. I got out and started with 4 easy miles but soon realised that my stomach was not going to play ball. Having my sensible head on and knowing that I didn’t need to chase mileage, I turned for home, changing the run into a 7 mile easy run.

 

I felt far better on Sunday morning so got up early and headed out for a 10 mile run, including the MP 6 miles I missed on Saturday. The pavements were icy but the roads were clear and I had them to myself. I ran the first 2 miles at a steady pace before pushing on aiming for a MP heart rate of around 150-155BPM. Sticking to this average, I managed the 6 miles at an average pace of 6.13. I was very pleased by this during the 2 cooldown miles to finish the run. Confidence boosted after Saturday’s aborted run.

 

Week 4 Totals: 78.2 miles covered over 12 runs, plus some basic core exercises on my BOSU ball.

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Do you want a personalised training plan?

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How Easy is a ‘Sustainable’ Diet?

Firstly, allow me to clarify the title:

Diet means the food that you consume on a daily and weekly basis. It does not mean banning or forbidding foods.

Sustainable means from now on, not just for the next 6 weeks.

 

To make your diet sustainable forever (and I do mean forever) you need to look at what you currently eat and probably (I’m sure if you are reading this you are looking for ideas) change a few things that you eat.

All ‘fad-diets’ do the same thing; they forbid certain foods or types of foods in order to reduce the amount of calories that you eat. The only (well not the only problem) is that as you are forbidding foods, you will miss them and that is not something that will be sustainable.

I believe that a reasonably easy way of looking at what you eat on a weekly basis is that I have set out below. Aim for:

70% of your weekly food consumption coming from whole/minimally processed foods (fruit, vegetables, lean meats, fish, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, etc) that you really enjoy

10% of your weekly food consumption coming from whole/minimally processed foods that you neither enjoy or dislike (neutral to taste)

10% of your weekly food consumption coming from ‘questionable/semi-junk foods’ that you like

10% of your weekly food consumption coming from anything else you love

 

It is better to be eating healthy food for 80% of the time, rather than cutting out the questionable and junk foods totally for a short time and then binging on them when you realise how much you miss them.

This allows you to factor in those meals out with family and friends, the odd packet of crisps or small bar of chocolate.

The biggest thing that you can do is just to cut down on your portion sizes. Just eat slightly less each meal, stick to the percentages above and, combined with some enjoyable exercise (yes there is fun enjoyable exercise for everyone) you will see a sensible and sustainable weight loss that you will be able to maintain for life.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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Motivation – Have You Got Your PERM in Place?

As most of you will know, my core beliefs when it comes to health, fitness, weight loss and exercising are that whatever changes you are going to make in your life, they need to be sustainable. For a change to be sustainable you must have the correct reasons and motivation for making that change.

Now you may ask ‘What is the correct motivation for making a change in your life?’. This is where you need to know your goal or target. What do you want to achieve? When you know what you want to achieve you can then begin to work out what it will take to get there. These are the changes that you need to make in order to achieve your overall goal.

Just to go slightly off on a tangent for a minute; there are two types of motivations that we need to know about. These are Intrinsic and Extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation is the self-desire to seek out new things and new challenges, to analyze one’s capacity, to observe and to gain knowledge. It is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on external pressures or a desire for consideration. People are more likely to have intrinsic motivation if they

  • are interested in mastering something new, even though there is no reward at the end of it.
  • engage in a task willingly
  • attribute their results to factors under their own control, also known as autonomy of control
  • believe they have the skills to be effective agents in reaching their desired goals, also known as self-efficacy beliefs

Extrinsic motivation refers to the performance of an activity in order to attain a desired outcome and it is the opposite of intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation comes from influences outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are:

  • rewards (prizes, exam results, personal best times) for showing the desired behaviour
  • the threat of punishment following failure/non-compliance

 

Competition is an extrinsic motivator because it encourages the performer to win or to beat a personal best, not simply to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity.  So in order to achieve the extrinsic goal, you need to have an interest or self-belief in the activities you need to complete to get there.

With extrinsic motivation, the harder question to answer is where do people get the motivation to carry out and continue to push with towards their target.

 

Now back to where I got distracted with explaining motivation. You need to know your ‘why?’ for your original goal/target. If it is weight loss, ‘why’ do you want to get to your goal weight? ‘Why’ did you choose that weight? Is it the weight on the scale you crave or the look you had when you weighed that weight last?

In 2011 a psychologist, Martin Seligman, published the book ‘Flourish’. This included a model with five elements that if all are in place we have a great chance of making lasting changes and experiencing well-being. This model is the PERMA Model. The five key elements are:

 

P             Positive Emotions

E              Engagement

R             Relationships

M            Meaning

A             Accomplishments

 

Let me explain each one in relation to a healthier lifestyle.

P             Positive Emotions – This is often described as sensory pleasure. This could be tasty (nutritious) food, warm baths, being in a place you love (outdoors, gym)

E              Engagement – When we’re truly engaged in something, you we experience a state of flow: time seems to stop and we concentrate intensely on the present. This could be cooking your favourite healthy meal, a gym class or a run outdoors

R             Relationships – These are often the social ties between the extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. Think of the friends you have made through exercising or the strengthening family ties that follow fun outdoor activities

M            Meaning – This comes from us thinking that we are serving a bigger purpose than ourselves. This can range from being religious, to being part of a running club, gym or even Facebook groups.

A             Accomplishments – These are usually the extrinsic motivators (certainly previous ones). If you are reading this, the chances are you will have something in the future you want to accomplish. This could be weight loss, getting new running PBs, learning a new language, etc.   As these have an outcome at the end, they are the easiest to struggle with. This is where you need your PERM to be in place (no, not the 80’s hairstyle) to ensure that you have the intrinsic (internal) motivations in place to carry you through the days or weeks where things don’t go to plan.

 

So, to bring everything back together as this has been a little disjointed (sorry), you need to find your intrinsic motivation to achieve your extrinsic goal. This means that to get to your goal weight (for example):

  • you need to know why you want to get to that weight (Accomplishment)
  • what can you do that you enjoy and gives you positive emotions that will keep you on track (Positive Emotions & Engagement)
  • do you have the relationships, social groups and belief, or can you find them, to support you towards your goals (Relationships & Meaning)

If you can get all of these in place, you have a far better chance of not only reaching your goal, but also in sustaining a healthier lifestyle than you had previously. Sustainable progress needs to be enjoyable and fit in with your lifestyle or you will just find it to hard and not enjoy your new life.

Good luck and if you need any help, please contact me.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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Motivation to Move

Motivation is one of those things that we can all do with a little more of at different stages in our lives. As you know, exercise can be just what you need to get your mind stimulated and your body energised. Yet every now and then we need a little motivation to get us up and get started.

Here are my top tips for finding that motivation to get yourself moving:

 Know your ‘why?’ – What is your real reason for wanting to exercise? Work out exactly why you are doing this and write it down….everywhere!! Pin it to the fridge, write it in your phone, put it on your desk, even in your car. Whenever you feel that you can’t be bothered, remind yourself of why you are doing this and what it will mean once you achieve your goal.

 Make a play list – Music is a fantastic way to keep you motivated. You can adjust it to suit your mood or the pace of the workout you are doing. Opting for music with a good beat can really help to motivate you to keep going and stay on track.

 Find an exercise buddy – Having other people to exercise with can be just what you need to get you up and motivated. Exercise buddies, whether a friend or Personal Trainer, can not only make the experience more enjoyable, they also help keep you accountable for sticking to your plans.

Use different locations – I like to try running different routes and outdoor places to work out because it keeps it fresh and interesting, plus I get to explore some of the beautiful places in my area. So take yourself over the fields, try different parks and explore different routes to keep it interesting.

 Mix it up – Your body will slowly become conditioned to specific exercises and routines, and you will find you reach a plateau as the challenge is reduced. So keep mixing it up, rotating the areas of the body you are working on and adding new and more challenging exercises. Don’t be afraid to try something new and different.

And remember, always keep in mind your own personal goals as you work towards them. You are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to and the hard work is definitely worth it.

 

 

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How to Reduce Your Soft Drink Intake

Soft drinks are very popular with a lot of the population and they are often cheaper than a bottle of water.

Regular consumption of sugary soft drinks has been associated with higher risks of developing diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, gout and obesity. Sounds scary? It is! The simple reason behind this is the amount of calories contained in many of these drinks. There are approximately 140 calories in a regular can of Coca Cola, and this is pretty similar with other brands as well. So by drinking 3 cans a day will add over 400 calories to your daily intake. Do this every day for a week and you could be increasing your weight by almost one pound. Doing this every day for a year could mean your weight increasing by around 3.5 stone. Now that is scary; just from 3 cans of sugary drinks per day.

Now turn that around; if you are currently drinking 3 cans of sugary drinks per day, think of the weight you could lose by cutting them out. Now you won’t lose 3.5 stone as your body will get used to not having them, but they are easy calories to cut out and will make a big difference to any weight loss programme.

 

What about the sugar-free alternatives; they must be better surely? They do not contain sugar and so most are calorie-free, however, they do include artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of sugar. As they are generally calorie-free most people will drink more than they would usually consume of the full-sugar versions. By drinking more of these it is possible for you to become addicted to the sweeteners in the same way you would to the sugar in the full-calorie versions.

Now although I couldn’t find any evidence to prove long-term health risks, there have been studies completed that have linked ‘diet’ soft drinks with tooth decay, osteoporsis, heart disease and depression. Still not good news then!

Now, as with everything I advocate, it is probably not going to be sustainable to ‘never have another, ever!’. Consuming both full-calorie or diet versions of drinks occasionally is not going to cause any major health or weight issues. It is the regular and over consumption of these that are the issue.

 

Here are my top tips to reduce your consumption of soft drinks.

Don’t buy them – This is probably the easiest way to reduce consumption. If you don’t put them in your shopping trolley you are less likely to go out to the shops just to buy a can. Remember, ‘out of sight, out of mind’

Know your triggers – Do you drink soft drinks only at certain times of the day or at certain places? By identifying these triggers, you are more likely to find strategies to deal with them.

 Take it slow – In an ideal world we wouldn’t consume any of these drinks. However, we don’t live in the real world and for any changes to be sustainable start by reducing your intake by half. Then next week reduce it by half again. Soon you will find you are not having them every day and your habit is broken. You will then find it easier to reduce consumption even further if needed.

Make a healthy swap – We all need fluids to survive so if you are reducing your intake of soft drinks you need to replace them with something. You can try to swap the soft drink for a healthy alternative, such as water. If you don’t like the taste of water (as my wife doesn’t), you can add a slice of lemon, lime or orange for taste. Carbonated water with a slice of real fruit can also trick the brain into thinking it is having that can of soft drink.

Have a cup of tea – If you want more flavour than plain water, why not try to replace your soft drink with tea? Herbal, green and white teas have got numerous health benefits and are usually much better for you than the soft drinks.

 

Remind yourself – Always remember why you are doing this. Is it to:

Enhance your health?

Lose weight?

Reduce your intake of caffeine (contained in most cola related drinks)?

Reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners?

Save money?

 

Whatever your reason, remember it and keep it in mind when you buy your shopping.

If swapping to tea or water doesn’t make you crave the soft drink less, remind yourself why you are quitting soda. Is it:

– To enhance your health?

– To reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners?

– To reduce your intake of phosphoric acid?

– To reduce your intake of caffeine?

– To save money?

Whatever reason you may have, you know you will feel better for it!

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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Why Can’t You Shift That Stubborn Fat

There is nothing worse than feeling like you are doing everything you can, but that last bit of stubborn fat just won’t shift. However, you could be preventing fat loss from a few bad habits that you have without knowing, or you could have simply reached a plateau in your training routine. I’m not going to go all ‘nanny-state’ on you, but if you are struggling, here are some things that could be getting in your way.

 

Your portion sizes are too big – It’s easy to think that because you are eating something healthy, you can eat as much as you want. However, just because something is healthy doesn’t mean you can over-do it. I’d never advise you to go hungry, but if you are eating high-calorie healthy foods, and not watching your portion sizes, you could easily start to gain weight, and store extra fat. Nuts are the perfect example of this, whilst they are a great source of good fat and protein for the body, they are also extremely calorie dense, and extremely easy to over-eat because they taste so good and you just seem to put them into your mouth, one after another. Make sure you are sticking to sensible portion sizes in all the foods you eat, including the healthy ones.

 

You consume liquid calories – If you are someone who drinks a lot of coffee, tea, juice or even worse fizzy drink, then you could be blowing your daily calorie intake in drinks. A large latte or hot chocolate from a high-street coffee shop could contain the equivalent calories of a meal. Liquid calories are also just empty calories, and unless it’s natural fruit juice they generally provide no nutritional value to the body (although be aware of the calories and sugars, albeit natural sugars in fruit juices). Stick to water, black tea or coffee, without sugar to get the fewest calories out of your drinks.

 

You’ve hit a plateau in your training – Your body will get used to any type of exercise, so if you are continuously doing the same thing day in and day out, then the body won’t respond the way it did when you first started. That’s why it’s important to keep the workouts changing on a constant basis. This is why I like to change the sessions I design for people. Just when your body adapts, the intensity or type of exercise changes – so not only will you find you’re capable of increasingly complex and challenging moves, it will help you break through plateaus and boost motivation because you’re doing something different. It’s also the best way to keep enjoying your exercise.

 

Mindless eating – We seem to be getting so distracted with technology that we don’t pay attention to what we put in our mouths. I’m always amazed at how many people I see in coffee shops, using their phones, whilst eating away. I also know of so many people who will sit at their desk and snack whilst still tapping away on their computer, or eat snacks in front of the television or social media. Mindless eating is when you are eating while doing something else and not concentrating on what you are eating. The problem with mindless eating is that when you aren’t paying attention to the food you often find yourself over-eating. Try and make sure that when you sit down to eat a meal, your focus is on that and that alone (although do not ignore the other people around the table).

 

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Why You Need to Eat Fat.

There is a common myth in the weight-loss world that eating fat makes you fat. For years, the diet industry (and government) campaigned that it was the fat in foods that made you overweight.

Therefore, most foods and diets for the last 30 years have promoted ‘low fat’ as being good. So why is the world getting fatter then?

New studies are now showing that there is no direct correlation between eating fat and your weight. At this point I will clarify that fat contains around 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for carbohydrates and proteins. So eating the same amount of fats as carbs or proteins will result in you taking in more calories. But eating fat in moderation, as is the case with everything, will not make you fat.

Eating fat (the good kind), can actually help with fat loss, boost your metabolism and improve overall health. It is also essential for body cell development and certain brain functions. That’s why you will never see me telling you to cut fat out of your diet.

 

Today I’m telling you that it’s time to ditch the low-fat diet, and start incorporating fats back into your meals.

Low fat does not mean healthy.

Due to the power of advertising and marketing, the many years of low-fat diets being promoted has now made people assume that if a food is packaged as ‘low-fat’ it is good for you. However, in order for them to remove the fat from the food, salts and sugars are usually added, together with various additives and flavourings to make the food taste good.

‘Low-fat’ means that the food must contain no more than 3g of fat per 100g (3%) for solids, or 1.5g of fat per 100ml for liquids (1.5%) or 1.8g of fat per 100ml for semi-skimmed milk.

‘Reduced fat’ is even more ambiguous, being defined as the food must contain at least 25% less fat than the regular product to which it is being compared, and at least 3g less fat per 100g of food.

So a ‘reduced fat’ product may still be 50% fat, it is just not as high as the original product it is being compared to.

My advice is to always read the labels and to make sure you know what the food is made up of. Concentrate more on the calorie content of the food. If you need any advice, please get in touch.

 

Why fat is good? Your body needs the right nutrients to function properly. Fats are essential for your body, brain and organs to function properly.  They also help rebuild cells, give you energy and produce hormones. That’s why it’s an essential nutrient to include in your daily diet. Especially when you are doing extensive exercise and your body requires proper fuel. However, there is a big difference between fats. Most people define good fats as polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat and categorise saturated fats as a bad fat.

 

Polyunsaturated fats: These fats help lower your bad LDL cholesterol, as well as contain your essential omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are what helps boost brain function, improve your immune system and your mood. You’ll find these fats in your foods like salmon, mackerel, flaxseed, walnuts and chia seeds.

 

Monounsaturated fat: These fats help raise your good HDL cholesterol and lower your bad LDL cholesterol. This helps to reduce the build-up of plaque in your arteries and prevent heart disease. Studies have also shown that these fats also help to reduce belly fat. Foods that contain monounsaturated fats are olive oil, cashews, almonds, peanuts, sesame seeds and avocados.

Coconut oil is another great example of good fat you can eat. It contains medium-chain fatty acid, which are a healthier form of saturated fats. Our body metabolises these fatty acids differently, and immediately converts it to energy for our brain and muscles to function. It’s also great for boosting your immunity, metabolism and helps to improve digestion.

 

Saturated fats: Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature (animal fats, butter, cheese, etc). These, if eaten in bulk, can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. These fats should make up a lower proportion of your fat intake.

 

Trans fats: Trans fats are the worst, as they are made from unsaturated fat that has been chemically processed to prolong the shelf life of packaged foods. They do not only raise your bad LDL cholesterol, and contribute towards heart disease, but they also increase inflammation in the body. Foods that include these fats are often processed cakes, crackers, crisps, biscuits, butter-type spreads and chips. In packaged foods, look out for the ingredient ‘hydrogenated vegetable oil’ as this is trans fat. You’ll be surprised at how many foods you’ll find that contain these chemically processed trans fats.

 

So, if you want to remove your body fat, it’s not about removing fat from your diet completely. It’s about finding a good balance between eating whole nutrient rich foods like vegetables, fruit, lean meat, nuts, seeds, legumes and fats in moderation. So ditch the low-fat diet and start nourishing your body instead with healthy wholesome foods.

If you want any advice, please contact me using the details below.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

How to Get Away From Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is probably one of the biggest reasons for people gaining weight and ruining their fitness improvements.

Quite a lot of people over-eat when they experience strong negative emotions, such as depression, anxiety, stress and relationship break-ups. They then feel guilty about overeating and the weight gain that has caused. This causes them to get emotional and over-eat again, causing a spiral that is difficult to break.

If you can learn to control the stress that leads to the emotions, or change your eating habits when you have negative emotions, you can regain control of your eating habits and start to break the habits you have formed.

What is emotional eating? To some extent, we are all emotional eaters. A lot of our social lives are based around food. We socialise or celebrate by going out for a nice dinner or catch up with friends over lunch. Eating only becomes a problem when you are using food to mask negative emotions, or use it to make you feel better. If your eating habits are based on emotions rather than hunger, your waistline and emotional state can suffer.

To find out if you are someone who emotionally eats, you can ask yourself these questions:

Do you mindlessly eat when you are bored, want a distraction and/or watching TV?

Do you reward yourself with food when you are having a good day?

Do you seek comfort in food when you are having a bad day?

Do you eat when you feel overwhelmed with stress and anxiety?

If you answered yes to these questions, then sometimes you eat based on emotions, rather than when you are hungry. It becomes a problem when you are using food to mask a deeper issue, and it’s making you gain weight and have an unhealthy relationship with food.

So how do you break free? The first step is to actually recognise if you are an emotional eater or not. Emotional eating is often just a behaviour or habit we have created ourselves over time. So, as you have created the habit, you can break it. Here are some possible ways to help you break free from emotional eating:

Become aware of your eating patterns In order to remove emotional eating, you need to become aware of your eating patterns and behaviours. Stop and recognise when you are eating out of hunger and when you are eating because of an emotional state. Pause, think before you buy the cake or reach for a pack of biscuits and ask yourself these questions; Am I actually hungry? How am I going to feel after I eat this? This will really make you confront why you are eating in the first place.

Learn the cause Once you determine when you emotionally eat, it’s good to sit down and figure out what is causing you to do so. When you realise what is causing you to overeat you can get to work on stopping it. A good way of doing this is to keep a food diary. Write down everything that you eat and drink in a day and why you have chosen it. Also keep a note of your mood during the day and any good or bad experiences you have had. By writing these things down, it will make you look at the reasons why you are eating and will allow you to make a healthier choice.

Find something apart from eating that makes you feel good Once you have worked out the cause you can then do something about creating a new, healthier, habit. After a stressful day at work you may want to swap the tub of ice cream for a soak in the bath with some relaxing music. It may be that you join a gym and go straight after work to exercise the stress out of your system. Write down a list of activities that you enjoy and make you feel less stressed and happy. Keep the list with you and if you feel the need to eat to make you feel better after a hard day, look at the list instead. Once you get into the habit of using healthier alternatives they will become second nature and you will have ditched the emotional eating.

 Ditch the ‘diets’ While ‘diets’ will work at first for weight-loss, they will not do anything to help with emotional eating. When you restrict yourself with diets it is easy to then want and crave the foods that you have banned yourself from eating. When you eventually cave in to temptation, you will then be left with worse feelings of guilt, anger and disappointment, plus a feeling of failure. This can then result in you falling back into the emotional eating spiral. Instead of restricting yourself to an off-the-shelf diet, try to find some healthy alternatives to foods you previously ate and create your own sustainable food plan. This way you can still eat the foods you previously enjoyed, but in moderation and without the emotions attached to them.

 

Remember, emotional eating is just a habit that has been formed over time and all bad habits can be broken. So if you do find yourself reaching for the ice-cream on a bad day, don’t worry you can break free from the emotional eating pattern.

If you need any specific advice on any area of nutrition or fitness, please get in touch on the details below and I will be more than happy to help you.

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com