Improve your mood for the next 12 hours of your life.

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A quick look into the effect of exercise on your mood.

I have spoken about the motivation to exercise/train regularly in other blogs, and the correlation between drive and aesthetic based goals. However I also want to encourage you to consider other factors that can be a huge influence as to why you should train and the benefits you can achieve by doing so.

For the sake of this particular blog, I wish to make a quick focus on the effect that physical activity has on your brain with particular reference to mood and the effects on depression.

When you exercise or participate in regular physical activity (the key being on the word regular) your body will release chemicals called endorphins.

Endorphins are neurotransmitters which pass along signals from one neuron to another. They are made in the pituitary gland, sections of the spinal cord and the brain. They mainly interact with the receptors in cells in the region of your brain that can block pain and control emotion, by having an analgesic effect, in turn helping you to combat potential stress.

Accordingly to a recent study (university of Vermont, USA) a mere 20 minute session can be enough to elevate your mood for up to 12 hours! In some cases exercise has been proven to be as effective as medication for treating depression.

Imagine how you would benefit in all aspects of your own life if your mood was lifted for the next 12 hours? What would you tackle differently? How would you and others around you benefit? Would you see things differently? Would others see you differently?

Depression or mood swings can very often be linked to feelings of not having control in life. If an individual starts to take control of their body, they may in turn start to control other aspects of their live.

It would be wrong of me to suggest that exercise can solve or cure all things to all people, as we are all very complicated individuals. However, what I am suggesting is by starting with small regular bouts of physical activity you certainly begin to elevate your mindset to a greater place to help tackle any issues in your way.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, if you found it useful please like and share with others.

Exercise is your friend,

Tristan

How do you feel and what do you truly desire?

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Exercise and training is very often associated with aesthetic based goals and typical motivation to train may involve one or more of the following statements:

I want to ‘tone’ up
I want to lose weight
I want to fit into my little black dress
I want to my belt to fit my trousers.

The internet and media are full of transformation photos detailing before and after shots showing how much the body in question has physically changed. The end result very often being a tanned, flexed tight physique. This level of physical change is what drives certain people to keep pushing their body harder and harder, and they wish to challenge themselves physically. I believe if done properly and safely, before and after photos can be a fantastic motivation.

However, I want to highlight areas that I feel often get neglected when we look at why a person should train and what can truly be achieved. I also want you to dig a bit deeper into your own motivation.

What these photos DO NOT show is what that person is FEELING & EXPERIENCING: confidence levels, energy, self belief, concentration levels, anxiety levels, how that person simply enters a room are all huge life changing factors and benefits that cannot be measured by looking at a photo.

For the sake of this blog I simply want to get you to think about your goals and remove the aesthetic aspects. Doing this will very often leave you with your true reason for training. It may also present your own individual underlying deeper motivation.

For example:

Take the typical statement of ‘I want to fit into my little black dress’.

Now lets say you achieve this, how would this make you FEEL?

If you achieved your physical goals, how would you FEEL whilst amongst your friends/family? How would you FEEL at work when dealing with challenging days? How would you FEEL when you wake up every morning? How would you FEEL in your current relationship?

Think of all of the above areas of your life, and how you would ideally like to perform in each area. I am not against anyone doing before and after photos (I am currently doing my own); all I am saying is there is much more to you than a photo, and some things cannot be measured externally.

Thanks for reading,

Tristan

If you found this blog useful, please like and share with others.

Not your typical training partner.

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Do you train alone? In a group? With a friend?

Having a training partner can provide you with some potentially massive benefits and can help to enhance your workout in many ways.

HOWEVER, you can be a training partner in forms. For example, my training partner for the next 4 weeks will NOT be training with me every session; in fact we will probably average one session a week (if that) together, the rest of the time we will train independently. This is mainly due to conflicting work schedules and clashing availability.

However what we DO provide for each other over the next 4 weeks is:

-We both have the same goals/outcomes.

-A shared experience of the same workout structure/experience/intensity even though we are training separately at different times.

-Accountability to each other, we both know that the other is pushing hard and training consistently, and this drives us both forward!

-We are both positively motivating each other through the program (which is intense btw!)

-We are both following the same approach & principals to our eating pattern (obviously our macros are specific to us as individuals), again, sharing the experience.

I’m sharing this approach with you to get you thinking about your own training and your own goals, would it be easier if you shared the experience with someone who was like minded? Would the accountability help drive you forward?

On a side note, I also have another training partner, my wife. Again we are accountable to each other for one workout per week. I purposely chose the workout I perform with my wife as my leg routine, this is due to leg training being a personal challenge for myself (that’s me being polite btw!) whereas she loves it! This is again all about accountability & consistency.

This model/concept of training partner does not suit all methods of training; however I am suggesting that sharing the experience and having accountability to each other can help you and your partner drive each other forward to achieve more.

Your training partner is your friend.

Tristan

Light hearted Lifestyle Lessons to be learnt from Leo (our cat).

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As much as at times it pains me to admit at times, I love our cat, Leo (by ‘our’ I am referring to my wife and myself)! Helen (my wife) often jokes that Leo is our ‘hairy son’! I personally find being around animals therapeutic and generally great company, as a result I find myself observing his behaviour from time to time.

This has prompted me to share some light hearted advice on lifestyle lessons we can all learn from Leo:

1) Leo starts EVERYDAY with a small duration of exercise followed by consuming his (typically protein rich) breakfast. He never skips breakfast.

2) Leo is in tune with his body and eats when he is hungry. When he is full, he stops eating (most of the time)!

3) Leo makes eating a priority and doesn’t ‘forget to eat’.

4) Leo eats a variety of fish.

5) Leo ensures he drinks enough water EVERYDAY.

6) Leo allows himself time to rest

7) Leo ALWAYS gets enough sleep!

8) Leo is active EVERYDAY.

9) Leo allows himself time to truly relax.

10) Leo remains welcoming, playful & inquisitive of life. He is also always willing to explore his environment EVERYDAY.

I’m sure we can all learn from Leo and I suggest we would all benefit from being a ‘bit more cat’ at times!

Tristan

Are you drinking enough water?

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Water – The facts and the application.

Whether your goal is to lose bodyfat, improve your strength, to enhance performance, or to help off set some of the signs of the aging process, drinking sufficient water on a daily basis should be an essential part of your daily routine. You can dial in your nutrition and training but without sufficient water, your gains and progress will be limited.

Water constitutes two thirds of your total body weight and is the single most important nutrient we require, without it you wouldn’t survive more than a few days! In a survival situation, water is more important than nutrition,as all of your cells and organs require water to function efficiently and effectively on a daily basis. We obviously obtain water by drinking it directly but also from our food.

The human body will lose water through perspiration, respiration and urination so keeping a regular intake is essential for optimal performance, especially when exercising regularly. Studies have shown that dehydration reflected in a 1-2% reduction in body weight can reduce our ability to concentrate, our cognitive and physical performance, and increase feelings of aggression or irritation – water rage!

As a general rule an active person who is training consistently should aim to consume 1 litre of water per 25 kg of total body weight.

Therefore a 65 kg person should drink: 2.6 litres per day (65 divided by 25).

Remember that this amount should be drank throughout the day in regular intervals; the average standard water bottle is 500ml, so using the above example this would equate to be just over 5 bottles per day.

Also remember that fizzy drinks/sports drinks/and tea/coffee shouldn’t be included in the above total!

Action tips:

-Take a water bottle or shaker with you to work and fill it up at regular stages throughout your day. If you spend prolonged time travelling through work/business, always have your water on hand in your car.

-For every cup of coffee you order/drink get into the habit of ordering/drinking a glass of water to supplement the coffee. From personal experience, very often the water is forgotten about and you may have to make a polite reminder! I feel this is not only a reflection on the obvious importance of the hot drinks, the fact it’s a ‘coffee’ shop, and that water doesn’t run a cost (unless bottled), but also that the average person doesn’t consume sufficient water and probably doesn’t order water regularly therefore it is not a habit formed by the serving staff. On another personal level I feel water should be served as standard in all coffee shops, café bars, and restaurants without request, but that’s my rant over!

-Don’t go crazy and start to increase massively your intake within the first few hours of your day! Gradually build up to your requirement (formula above), especially if you are already considerably below your target requirement.

-If you feel like drinking a fizzy, carbonated, often sugary drink, just spare a moment to consider why. Very often it can be full of Aspartame, unnatural sweeteners, dyes… and a variety of other strange often unpronounceable ingredients! Whereas, within reason, water is water. You also won’t run the risk of drinking extra pointless calories. Yes, certain fizzy drinks can be a better choice than others in terms of calorie and sugar content; however the hydration properties of these drinks (with the exception of certain electrolyte based products) will be inferior to basic water.

-Yes you will initially start to urinate more frequently (politely speaking) as your body adapt to the increase in liquid, you will get used to it!

-Stay very clear of flavoured water drinks. For example, the ‘touch of fruit’ products by Volvic can contain up to 27.5 g of sugar per 500ml bottle.

sugar in drinks

Stay hydrated and stay happy.

Water is your friend.

Tristan

Lieberman HR (2007) Hydration and cognition: a critical review and recommendations for future research. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 25, 555S-561S

EFSA Journal 2011: 9(4):2075 Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to water and maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions (ID 1102, 1209, 1294, 1331) maintenance of normal thermoregulation (ID 1208) and “basic requirement of all living things” (ID 1207) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061

The importance of Sleep – my first quick blog.

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Sleeping for recovery and results.

From my experience of dealing with a huge cross section of members and performing literally hundreds of consultations, one massively overlooked area of lifestyle is sleep and the importance there of.

Some of you will be aware of your typical daily nutrition plan, and some of you may even have a regular structured, progressive training program and enjoy a regular exercise pattern, but have you factored in your sleep as a key factor in achieving your goals and results?

Sleep is essentially your body’s recovery time, yet it is rarely associated with or linked to achieving results. It is vital to not overlook the correlation between your sleep pattern and your overall performance not only when exercising, but also when carrying out day to day tasks. Its no surprise that when you fall short on the amount of sleep you get, you will struggle, both physically and mentally, to perform to your maximum potential. This obviously creates a negative start point to any workout you may perform.

When you exercise, you actually place stress on your body, not only by creating tiny microscopic tears in your muscle fibres, but also by taxing both your immune system and your nervous system. Taking this into account, sleep is essential in aiding the recovery process and allowing your body to rebuild itself. If this recovery process is hindered/shortened/broken, then the exercise that follows will also be hindered/shortened/broken.

On a practical level of planning/preparing your meals, starting your day in a fatigued state can lead to cravings and instability in energy levels, again disrupting your lifestyle and hindering your progress. I would also challenge anyone to cook from scratch a balanced and nutritionally sound meal when fatigued. In this state the likelihood of reaching for that ‘quick fix’ is far greater. Ideally when looking at meal planning/preparation one should look to stabilise energy levels and avoid any peaks and troughs throughout the day.

To summarise: the quality of your day is often heavily influenced by the quality of your previous night.

Simple Tips for improving the quality of your sleep:

-Aim to wind your evening down an hour before actually going to bed.
-Get your bedroom as dark as possible, think of Bruce Waynes Batcave!
-Turn off all electrical equipment.
-Use your bedroom only for sleep, this helps to create association with sleep and rest.
-Ensure you have a comfortable and supportive mattress and aim to use pillows that provide adequate neck and shoulder support.

Your bed is your friend.

Sleep well,

Tristan

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