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 handful of seeds     a bag of unsalted raw almonds  or some unsalted raw cashews     a bag of mixed raw pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds     an unsweetened oat...

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 health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and heart...

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...

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 hour, the more likely it is that we’re going to be burning fat. There are economies of scale- we only have to prepare for the session once rather than twice, only need one shower, only need to break from our...
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