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Advocating the Avocado

While we have discussed the properties of avocado oil in other articles, let’s turn our attention to the benefits of eating the fruit itself. While not exactly low in calories, if taken in moderation, Avocadoes make an excellent addition to salads and light meals adding a wonderfully smooth creamy texture and aroma that brings out the natural flavour in other ingredients. What are the nutrient qualities of Avocadoes? They contain folate (the natural form of folic acid), which is one of the B vitamins needed for cell division and blood cell formation. A lack of folic acid in pregnant women can increase the risk of various birth defects. Folate is also thought to be important for men’s sexual health. Avocados also contain potassium, which is needed for balancing electrolytes in our bodily fluids; vitamin E, an antioxidant known to slow down the ageing process and help protect against certain types of cancer and heart disease; lutein, an antioxidant that can protect against eye diseases such as cataracts; and finally betasitosterol, a plant compound that can inhibit the absorption of cholesterol and help lower blood cholesterol levels. As many of you will already know, catching an Avocado when it is newly ripe can be quite tricky. It’s so disappointing to cut one in half only to find a rubbery centre. It is best to go for the fruits that have a “give” in the stalk and possibly the ones which are labelled as “ready to...

Snacking for Health and Fitness...

The very word “snacking” conjures up images of gorging on fatty, sugary food. In contrast, when we think of “grazing” we imagine healthy eating practices and abstemious diets. Yet the two concepts share much. In fact, snacking may not be such a bad thing. It’s how we go about it. The devil is in the detail. A 2011 Norwegian study has found that there is no link to snack eating and overall calorie consumption. In fact, it may be that eating more regularly means we consume less when we sit down for meals. When we look at our diets as a whole, snacks are small so they are easier to deny. It’s easier for us to bury our comfort eating under the banner of “snacks” and thus dismiss it, misleading even ourselves. Avoid snacking in the morning. A study of females who snack has shown that those who do so after breakfast (mid-morning) were fatter than those who snacked at other times of day. Possibly the post-meridian snacking allayed the consumption of large evening meals, which are the dieter’s nemesis. Eating fruit. The act of chewing fruit actually leads to a feeling of fullness. So much so that scientists have recently shown those who eat a piece of fruit end up eating 187 calories less per day (on average) even when the calories in the fruit are included! Eating on the move. This takes forward planning and the formation of a routine. Here are some suggestions for food that you can eat on the go:     oat cakes     an apple or a banana with a few nuts or...

THE EMPEROR’S NEW WORKOUT: PART 3 – LOW CARB DIETS...

The emperor’s new workout- fitness and nutrition mythbusting Part 3: Low carb diets This series is all about demystifying the world of exercise and nutrition by attacking some of the ill-informed myths and assumptions we hear at the gym and on the pages of fitness magazines: (Take a look at Part 2 – the previous article in the series if you haven’t already). The subject of this bulletin is the quackery of low-carb diets. If you find an “expert” who recommends you eliminate or drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake as a means to lose weight then congratulations, you have found a charlatan, a first rate phony. To do so creates nutritional imbalances that lead to inevitable health problems. What’s more- it’s guaranteed to fail over time. In that respect it’s as flawed as the tactic of drastic caloric restriction. Three things will inevitably follow: 1) Malnutrition. 2) A long list of health impairments, many of them psychological. 3) A relapse or breaking of the diet. 4) Rapid weight gain which will take you back to where you started (or worse) with nothing but misery, disappointment, and de-motivation to show for your efforts. Added to this you’re more than likely to permanently damage your health in this way. Carbohydrates in correct proportion to other nutrients are essential to a proper eating plan for health, improved physical and mental performance, fat loss (or maintenance), and lean muscle development and toning. Our concession is that we do aim to virtually eliminate the bad carbs (mostly sugars) that go hand in hand with “empty calories” and play a role in the development of chronic...

Have You Got The Willpower To Read This? Willpower Tips...

2011 saw the publication of an exciting book on the science of willpower by one of the world’s leading experts on motivation, professor Roy F Baumeister. So, to ask a seemingly obvious question, why exactly does willpower matter?  Baumeister explains that “it separates us from the animals. It’s the capacity to restrain our impulses, resist temptation – do what’s right and good for us in the long run, not what we want to do right now. It’s central, in fact, to civilisation.” What interests us at MotivatingMax is that there are some sound scientific principles to back up the professor’s contentions: For example, multiple studies have shown that children who performed well on willpower tests went on to become more successful in their adult lives; happier, higher status, healthier, more likely to be in stable relationships, and less likely to commit crime than their impulsive peers. The kinds of tests used to assess willpower in children are revealing, they tell us in a nutshell what the concept is all about. In a 2010 New-Zealand study which ran for 32 years and sampled 1,000 participants, the children were given a choice to have a single marshmallow now or two if they were able to wait. This principle applies to so many health-relevant behaviours in our lives and it touches on a general problem with people in the modern age. By and large, we are becoming focussed on immediate gratification. Our whole society is geared up for instant results- whether we are talking about speed dating or fast food. Nobody is willing to wait or defer any more. Willpower and posture...

Motivating Max Compound Training Theory (CTT)...

We do like to bring you the latest in evidenced-based research but also plenty of applied material that comes from our work as practitioners. Forget the “Insanity” workout, here is a great method for maximising your physique development and calorific expenditure that we use with our own clients. We call it “compound sessions” and it came about from noticing that successful players in team sports often continue training after a practice match. For example, they might play a game of 5-a-side football and follow this with a 10k run. With our clients we might suggest something in this order: After a 15-mile cycle ride stop off at the gym and do a 30-minute strength endurance circuit. On the surface of it, that sounds like madness so it’s time to spell out exactly why we think this is a 27-carat training system: It uses the positive mindset and energy of the first session to springboard into another session. When we’re fired up and feeling successful it’s just a matter of doing a “little bit more”. That’s a whole lot easier in psychological terms than getting off the couch and going out into the cold in the first place. It maximises recovery time. Instead of straining our bodies six or seven times a week it makes it easier for us to have longer recuperative periods and hence faster development and greater longevity. Greater recovery periods also reduce stress and equalise our hormonal balances! It burns more fat- longer workouts necessitate a switchover from burning mostly carbohydrates to mostly fat. What this means is that, the longer we carry on past one...

7 Ways to Eat for a Better Body...

In this piece we list some dietary practices we should avoid. Many of these we list stem from an over-reaction or overcompensation. The message is clear: don’t throw the baby out with bathwater. DON’T Skip your pre- and post-workout meals in an effort to burn fat faster. What really matters is your caloric balance for the day. By not eating around exercise you will simply rob your body of desirable nutrients when they’re most needed. Cut calories at another time of the day when they are less needed. Avoid red meat altogether. Red meat gives us plenty of essential muscle-strengthening nutrients including iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Simply choose leaner cuts such as low-fat mince, sirloin steak, or venison and watch your portion size. Eat the same routine menu all the time. Although this helps us to maintain consistency, it also makes for malnutrition and boredom. Each month’s eating plan should include at least five different dishes. Spend your workout slurping sports drinks. The importance of sports drinks to exercise performance is generally over-estimated. If you’re doing a 45-minutes weights workout then there is very little opportunity for you to be dehydrated. Unless you’re training for endurance events then you probably don’t need the calories and electrolytes in these products- a bit of water should do the job! Avoid salt completely. The mineral is actually of immense benefit for a variety of bodily functions- so you should not aim to cut it out entirely. Just ensure you take in plenty of potassium as well so that your sodium-potassium levels are where they need to be- this attenuates many of...
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recent from 19 Lower Back Pain – Psoas Muscle and the Importance of Water
Lower Back Pain – Psoas Muscle and the Importance of Water Lower back pain is such a common complaint and those that suffer with it yet want to strengthen their backs in the gym, may train in ways that put strain on other areas of the body in an effort to protect the area and avoid pain. This compensation can cause more trouble. But before you try to remember how you pulled a muscle or strained yourself lifting something heavy, you may want to try a simple test that could solve the problem. This technique may work if the pain is non specific (where the cause is not immediately apparent or related to causes such as diseases or accidents for example). Water! A tip I was given by a Kinesiologist was to drink a pint of water and see if the pain eased. Life can be hectic and often people rely on teas and coffees to quench their thirst and the body can become accustomed to fewer liquids. The reason this tip make work for you is that the psoas muscle is usually involved in one way or another with lower back pain. This is a strong muscle that runs along the lower mid spine and its function is to primarily to flex the hip and the spinal column. The psoas muscle is also related to kidney function in applied kinesiology and if dehydration is present, this can throw the psoas off balance and pain can be felt. Initially you will probably feel like you need to urinate immediately, but if you keep drinking the minimum 8 glasses of pure water per day, you will soon become accustomed to it and feel a lot better in many other ways too, such as feeling more alert and energetic. So if you drink more tea and coffee than plain water, yet suffer with lower back pain, try drinking a pint of water...
recent from 13 Full Body Home Workout (Using A Chair)
In the above video, Reggie Lamptey shows us that a complete full body home workout is possible if you have nothing at hand but a chair! There are some challenging options but please note the variations if you are just starting out. Squats: Turn the chair sideways. Sit down, making sure your legs are at a 90 degree angle. Stand up, then sit back down again, as soon as your bottom touches the chair, stand up again. Variation: For extra resistance, you can hold the chair in front of your body, then squat as before, making sure that your knees do not pass your toes. Push ups: Use the chair to work your chest. With your feet on the chair, place your hands on the floor just outside of your shoulders. Lower down gently then push up again. Variation: This exercise is best done with your feet and knees on the floor if you are just starting out. Progress to lifting your knees off the floor before attempting to place your feet on the chair. Split Squat: Again this is quite an intense version, so you may want to start out without the chair at first. Place your back foot on the chair. Lower yourself straight down then lift back up. Work both legs evenly. Biceps Curls: You can use the chair to do biceps curls, simply hold it in front and with your elbows close to your sides, lift and lower the chair. Do not use momentum by swinging your body to help you to lift, only use your biceps. Variation: Instead of the chair you can use dumbbells, or if you are just starting out, try holding a tin of beans or bottles of water in each hand. Lunges: This is an advanced version but if you are starting out, simply keep both feet on the floor...
recent from 10 Advocating the Avocado
Advocating the Avocado While we have discussed the properties of avocado oil in other articles, let’s turn our attention to the benefits of eating the fruit itself. While not exactly low in calories, if taken in moderation, Avocadoes make an excellent addition to salads and light meals adding a wonderfully smooth creamy texture and aroma that brings out the natural flavour in other ingredients. What are the nutrient qualities of Avocadoes? They contain folate (the natural form of folic acid), which is one of the B vitamins needed for cell division and blood cell formation. A lack of folic acid in pregnant women can increase the risk of various birth defects. Folate is also thought to be important for men’s sexual health. Avocados also contain potassium, which is needed for balancing electrolytes in our bodily fluids; vitamin E, an antioxidant known to slow down the ageing process and help protect against certain types of cancer and heart disease; lutein, an antioxidant that can protect against eye diseases such as cataracts; and finally betasitosterol, a plant compound that can inhibit the absorption of cholesterol and help lower blood cholesterol levels. As many of you will already know, catching an Avocado when it is newly ripe can be quite tricky. It’s so disappointing to cut one in half only to find a rubbery centre. It is best to go for the fruits that have a “give” in the stalk and possibly the ones which are labelled as “ready to...
recent from 12 Have You Got The Willpower To Read This? Willpower Tips
Have You Got The Willpower To Read This? Willpower Tips 2011 saw the publication of an exciting book on the science of willpower by one of the world’s leading experts on motivation, professor Roy F Baumeister. So, to ask a seemingly obvious question, why exactly does willpower matter?  Baumeister explains that “it separates us from the animals. It’s the capacity to restrain our impulses, resist temptation – do what’s right and good for us in the long run, not what we want to do right now. It’s central, in fact, to civilisation.” What interests us at MotivatingMax is that there are some sound scientific principles to back up the professor’s contentions: For example, multiple studies have shown that children who performed well on willpower tests went on to become more successful in their adult lives; happier, higher status, healthier, more likely to be in stable relationships, and less likely to commit crime than their impulsive peers. The kinds of tests used to assess willpower in children are revealing, they tell us in a nutshell what the concept is all about. In a 2010 New-Zealand study which ran for 32 years and sampled 1,000 participants, the children were given a choice to have a single marshmallow now or two if they were able to wait. This principle applies to so many health-relevant behaviours in our lives and it touches on a general problem with people in the modern age. By and large, we are becoming focussed on immediate gratification. Our whole society is geared up for instant results- whether we are talking about speed dating or fast food. Nobody is willing to wait or defer any more. Willpower and posture Our focus at Motivating Max is health and fitness so let’s consider Professor Baumeister’s principle in terms of posture and mobility. If we drop something on the ground we have two choices, it’s easier and quicker to bend our lumbar...