Tuesday
Nov202012

What the Hell is Vitamin D and Why Should I Give a Damn?

In the second entry of our "What the hell is...?" series, we are going to be looking at Vitamin D.

Humans have for millions of years lived under the sun's rays and we have always worshiped it for its life-giving powers. It has a profound and powerful relationship to our wellbeing, that has only come to light properly in the last 100 years. Every year more and more research is pointing towards how essential it is to a full and vibrant life. It has even been suggested that around ten percent of our genetic code has receptors for vitamin D, meaning that the amount of it you have in your system directly influences a whole host of bodily functions. If you're deficient in it, you could be in trouble.

The Sun: An 850,000 mile wide, 15 million degree nuclear fireball, providing free heat, light, and energy, as well as making all life on Earth possible.

- Still doesn't ask you to worship it.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep052012

What the Hell is Omega 3 and Why Should I Give a Damn?

Omega 3, it's important stuff. Really.

I'm sure that if you're reading this you will have heard about omega 3 once or twice. I mean lets face it, yu're on a health and fitness blog; chances are that you give a crap about your body's wellbeing. And if you haven't heard about omega 3 even in passing by now... erm... where have you been?

 

You wouldn't understand man - you weren't there!

People say you should get more of it, they say it is good for you, but very few know why it is good for you.

Well you could be eating a pretty good diet and yet optimal health may still elude you. Omega 3s directly influence every organ, every muscle fibre, and every single cell in the body. If you're not getting enough of it, you are seriously compromising your health and potential longevity, and wouldn't even realise it.

In this blog post we will be looking at what this Omega 3 stuff is, how it affects your body, and why it is just as important to your health as vegetables and sunlight are (more on those two another time).

Get ready to watch me wax lyrical about omega 3

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug292012

So You Want to Run Fast Huh? - Part 1: Fixing Your Broken Undercarrage. 

Left to right: Usain Bolt - current 100m and 200m sprinting world record holder, Yannis Kouros - current holder of every men's outdoor world record from 100 to 1000 miles, and Mo Farah - Current Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion.

There seem to be a lot of runners about these days.

Statistically speaking, participation in marathon type events are booming, gym memberships seem to be on the decline, and Sport England estimate that there are around two million regular runners across the country.

Running and getting outside it seems, has never been more popular.

Despite this popularity however, there seems to be little appreciation about how to prepare the body for running. It's a lot more complicated than you might think. The sedentary lifestyle of most desk dwellers does not lend itself well to running long distances. As a result many people are held back from their full potential as runners for failing to address a few simple areas.

Let me make something clear.

When it comes to a person's running capability in long distance endurance events, it is less likely that they will have insufficient cardiovascular capacity to finish the race, and more likely that the muscle imbalances in the body will conspire to injure them before the race has ended.

These same muscle imbalances will also slow you down drastically in races of every distance and have a huge impact on your finishing time.

So if you want to...

  • Run your first 10K.
  • Achieve a personal best marathon time.
  • Finish an ultra-marathon without permanently injuring your body.

Or transform yourself from the guy on the left, to the guy on the right

Or any combination of the above, then this article should serve as an excellent kicking off point. I've broken this post up into two sections and focused on what I feel are the most common areas that people could easily improve on.

Largely speaking...

  1. Part one: Run safer - looks at what you need to do to prevent injury while running.
  2. Part two: Run faster - looks at how to use selected exercises and stretching techniques to optimise your body for improved running speed.

Though there is obviously considerable overlap between the two, both are important.

Injury in running comes suddenly, seemingly without warning, and can take upwards of 6 months to repair in some cases. Don't be reckless and ensure that your undercarriage is prepared in both respects. There's no glory in having to quit a race early because you hurt yourself.

Lets get stuck in...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul112012

Paleo Cooking Class No. 1 - Breakfast on the go!

Ah... breakfast. The most important meal of the day. Well, maybe that's true and maybe it's not. Today we're going to look at some of the science around the first meal and also do some cooking to show you what's possible with the slightest bit of effort in the kitchen.

With that in mind I've divided the post into two sections.

  1. How to use breakfast to control appetite, lose weight, tone up or have more energy.
  2. How to cook a quick convenient breakfast that's paleo friendly - courtesy of guest poster Rosanne Davidson:-) 

 So let's get stuck in.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul022012

Are Squats Damaging Your Knees? A Myth Explained.

This was supposed to be an instructional post about how to do the kettlebell swing.

Then I got into a conversation with someone. Let's call him Stephen, so that you don't find out that his real name was Jason.

Stephen asked me the best way to lose weight around his mid section, "my spare tire" as he put it.

I explained to him firstly that you cannot target fat loss in that area by doing the sit ups, or for that matter, target fat loss in any way through exercise (I outlined this fact of life in a previous post).

Furthermore I went onto explain that the exercise that uses the largest and most powerful muscles in the body was the squat, and that doing squats would get him quicker results in his midsection than an equivalent amount of sit ups. 

He asked me to demonstrate what I meant by a squat. So I performed a full bodyweight squat, like so.

Pictured: Not what I look like on a Thursday evening.

The conversation then proceeded like so.

Him: "But my basketball coach says that you shouldn't let your knee go further forward than your toes when squatting..."

Further adding:

"...everyone knows that squatting so deeply is bad for your knees"

He then went onto demonstrate his recommended alternative, a half squat (like the above image but only half way down instead of the top of the legs being parallel with the ground.)

Me: "I'm sure your basketball coach is very good, but on this subject he is incorrect"

Cue one overly long debate that culminated in the following:

Him: "So you are right and the whole world is wrong, yes?" (poorly disguised sarcasm)

 

Did you just say that? The whole world? Really?... As in everybody?!

Kettlebell swings will have to wait.

Deep breath... beginning rant in 3...2...1... 

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