You Don’t Need ‘Sport’ Drinks

You Don't Need 'Sport' Drinks

Isotonic sport drinks have their place in the world of health and fitness, but they do not belong in the area of fat loss.

I understand the logic some people use. If you want to lose fat, training harder and going for a little longer would be a good idea. If a ‘sport’ drink says it will keep you going 33% longer, why wouldn’t you buy one?

Again, as always, it comes down to the insulin sensitivity of your muscles. These drinks contain a lot of sugar, the one thing you want to avoid if you’re looking to lose fat.

Regardless of whether you’re in the middle of an incredibly tough fitness session, until your muscles are sensitive to insulin again….NO SUGAR!

If you have too much body fat, you’re at the stage where your muscles are resistant to insulin. When you drink a high sugar, isotonic, 33% longer, cherry flavoured and shiny labelled drink – your blood glucose levels rise dramatically. Ideally, your muscles quickly take on the glucose for energy (they need to be sensitive to insulin for this to happen) and as such…you can go for a little bit longer.

However, as you’re currently in an insulin resisting state, the glucose can’t get to your muscles and will be stored in your fat cells instead.

Water, on the other hand, is great for fat loss. Especially as it promotes the effective circulation of fat metabolizing hormones after a workout.

It’s also a lot cheaper!

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Cinnamon & Fat Loss

Cinnamon & Fat Loss

As I have mentioned many times now, they key to fat loss and permanent health is making sure your muscles are sensitive to insulin.

Any foods, drinks, herbs, spices etc that can positively effect your insulin sensitivity are worth adding into your weekly food shop. And cinnamon is definitely something to consider.

Just one tea spoon a day significantly lowers your serum glucose levels (the amount of glucose in your bloodstream). If you’re trying to lose fat, having high amounts of glucose in your blood is one of your biggest problems, so I would highly recommend adding some cinnamon into your diet.

Does this mean adding cinnamon to every meal will result in 0 effort weight loss? Of course not, it is simply something that can enhance the effects of a well-structured and specific fat loss plan.

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Epigenetics & Fat Loss

Whilst it’s true the DNA we inherited from our parents determines how easy or hard it is for us to lose body fat, if you haven’t won the genetic lottery, a relatively new science called epigenetics should give you a great deal of hope. 

We cannot change our DNA, we are who we are, but we can alter how certain genes are expressed. How we act on a day-to-day basis can have a rather large impact on us.

For example, you can actually ‘turn off’ the gene you inherited that promotes fat storage, and this can be achieved by consistently eating foods that are good for you (and remember what’s good for someone else, might not be good for you – we’re all different) and consistently exercising at an intense enough level. The key word here, being consistent…it’s not going to happen overnight. 

Also, your environment plays a significant role in your weight loss goal. There’s a decent amount of science showing how we are effected by external influences etc.. But basically, your Mum was always right! If you hang out with a bad crowd, you’ll pick up bad habits. If you’re trying to lose weight and the people you surround yourself with aren’t supportive, spend more time with a new group of people that will encourage and challenge you in a positive way instead. 

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Weight Training: Why It’s Great For Fat Loss, And Why You Won’t Turn Into Schwarzenegger

Weight training, typically, is intense. Regardless of whether you’re lifting 2.5kg or 25kg, if it’s relative to your current ability, it will be intense enough to force your body to adapt.

The same cannot be said for running on a treadmill, or what most people refer to as ‘cardio’. In this sense, ‘cardio’ is actually specific aerobic conditioning, if you run on a treadmill all the time, you’re now just very good at running on a treadmill. You have not adapted to lose and keep-off fat.

Weight training is superior for fat loss for many reasons, most notably, the increase in resting metabolic rate, and the fat burning effect that comes with the recovery process.

The more muscle tissue we have, the more calories we burn when resting. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, the more we have, the higher our energy requirements and the more calories used to sustain it; rather than being stored as fat. This is also why (ladies take note) that when you embark on a weight training regime, you will not turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Our bodies are very clever, they’ve had to be to ensure we survived our caveman days. Back then, food was scarce. Being able to easily build copious amounts of muscle tissue would not have helped us survive. More muscle, more calories burned, more food needed to make sure we didn’t die. Because of this, the majority of us have a gene known as GDF-8, which basically puts a limit on how much muscle we can develop. Only a small minority of people are born without it.

Also, when recovering from a weight training session (that’s intense enough) our aerobic system is a vital component of this process. In many cases, the aerobic system gets a better ‘workout’ when recovering from an intense weights session than a steady paced treadmill session. As such, weight training is a much more effective way of losing body fat than ‘cardio’.

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H20-Yeah!

H20-Yeah!

We’re often told we need to drink more water, but most of us don’t. I think if you understand a bit more about how important water is (especially for fat loss) you’ll start to get your 2 litres + per day.

If you want your body to respond well to an exercise stimulus, whether the aim is packing on lean muscle tissue or torching fat, you need water.

Drinking enough water allows for the expansion of your circulating blood volume. When you exercise at an intense enough level, coupled with eating foods specific to your fat loss needs, your body will bring certain hormones into play to promote this desired fat loss.

These hormones want to interact with the various cells of your body, including fat cells. It can do this very effectively if there is enough water in your system as the increase in circulating blood volume makes the transportation of these hormones easy.

Keeping hydrated also makes life a lot easier for your liver. When you lose fat, a major part of the process involves the liver. If, however, you’re dehydrated the liver has to focus a lot more on detoxification. This results in your liver being a lot less effective at mobilizing body fat, and as such, less body fat will be burned as fuel.

Omega 3s & Fat Loss

Omega 3s & Fat Loss

We’re all told to take cod liver oil tablets and get our omega 3s…but for most of us, we have no idea why. If we knew the importance of omega 3s, we would make sure we had enough daily; and it wouldn’t come in the form of a pill either.

How does it relate to fat loss?

Well, omega 3 fatty acids are an important part of the fat loss process as they play a huge role in how sensitive you are to ‘fat loss’ hormones.

Every cell wall of the body is made up of fatty acids, because omega 3 fatty acids are very elongated and flexible they enable your cells walls to be fully expanded.

If a cell wall is fully expanded, this means all the hormonal receptors of a cell are facing outward making them very sensitive to any circulating hormones. When hormones are released that are vital for metabolising fat, our cells pick them up with ease.

If we stray away from a diet containing omega 3, the cells walls become short and a lot less flexible. This results in our cells missing out on the circulating hormones that they need to metabolise fat. Consequently, an increase in body fat occurs.

If you want to lose body fat, a diet high in omega 3 fatty acids is essential. Rather than opting for a tablet, a much better source would be from grass-fed beef, fish and green leafy vegetables.

Eating Smart

Eating Smart

When you’re aspiring towards a healthy and permanent weight loss goal, it’s vital you consider some of the mental aspects involved also.

There are many psychological factors that can come with being overweight, from low self esteem, lack of confidence and diminishing motivation all the way through to depression. Furthermore, there are many physical and mental advantages to be gained from knowing more about the relationship between our mind, body and the food we eat. It’s not something that’s addressed often enough, but here’s my initial take on ‘Eating Smart’

Today, let’s look at norepinephrine:

Norepinephrine is part of the more commonly referred to ‘fight or flight’ hormones. You will produce this hormone (although it’s not technically a hormone – but that doesn’t really matter for now) when there is a perceived stressor, such as you have a big workout in 30 minutes, your boss is calling you etc.

The timely release of norepinephrine allows us to be ready if something physically or mentally stressful is about to happen. It does this by raising glucose levels in the bloodstream, increasing blood pressure, heart rate, mental alertness, and breathing rate.

Having the right amount of norepinephrine is essential for physical and mental health. The deregulation of norepinephrine, however, has been directly linked to depression, anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate problems, mood swings and a decrease in energy levels.

For your body to make an adequate amount of norepinephrine, we need to eat foods high in phenylalanine. When we consume phenylalanine a number of chemical reactions take place to turn it into norepinephrine. This is then stored away ready for release the next time something physically or mentally stressful is about to happen.

To make sure you’re getting enough phenylalanine in you diet it’s a great idea to include foods such as: cod, tuna, sardines, cottage cheese, eggs, walnuts, almonds, chickpeas and lentils.

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