Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Easy Exercise Program

In an ideal world we would all be setting our alarm clocks for 6:30am, drinking a smoothie made of 7 vegetables for breakfast before heading to the gym for a gruelling 3 hour workout.

Life just isn’t like that is it? No matter how good our intentions, life has a knack of throwing things at us. How is it possible to keep fit whilst dealing with all the hassles of every day life?

The Answer: Work Smart Not Hard

I was going to join my local gym the other week but decided against it as I wasn’t impressed with it. So instead I’ve been using a “little and often” technique which can be done from your own home without the need for any expensive equipment.

Basically you do a few exercises at regular intervals spread throughout the day. You might only have time to do 30 seconds at a time or you might be able to manage 5 minutes. It’s better to do a little bit often than nothing at all.

(I’ve included a number of quality links in this post, I suggest you bookmark this page so you can refer to it later.)

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Warm Up

It’s important to get the blood warmed up and pumping round your body so that your muscles can stretch easier. Swing your arms around your head, do star jumps or have a dance to your favourite tune.

2. Stretch

To prevent possible injuries you need to make sure your muscles are nicely stretched and supple. A lot of people don’t spend enough time stretching or even miss it out altogether. If you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle you’ll probably want to concentrate on stretching for a couple of weeks before doing any strength exercises to prevent injury.

If you are looking for a comprehensive book on stretching I personally recommend Sport Stretch as this is what was recommended by my mum’s personal trainer. He used to be a trainer in the Army, so he should know what he’s talking about!

3. Strength

When it comes to increasing strength there’s two main types of exercise you can do. You can either work each muscle individually (isolated) or you can exercise a number of muscles all at the same time (compound).

Ideally you should do a mixture of both isolated and compound exercises but because you have a life you should concentrate on compound exercises. You don’t need expensive gym equipment to do these exercises however you might later on want to buy a Dumbell Set and an Exercise Ball.

Here are some links on how to do the main compound exercises:

  • Lunges – Workout all the muscles in you legs and bum (great for us girls!). If you’re new to exercising then you can start of doing lunges without dumbbells.
  • Press-ups – This is an excellent video on how to do a press-up correctly. I learnt a lot from it.
  • Tricep Dips – If you find your wrists get sore, try doing Dumbbell Kickbacks instead.

Some more exercises to try out here: Total Body Strength for Beginners

4. Cardio

Doing cardio is important for increasing lung capacity, reducing your chance of coronary artery disease plus generally gives you more energy. It might be a bit more difficult to do a cardio workout in your own home without a treadmill or exercise bike but here are some tips for you:

  • Walk instead of taking the car
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator
  • Run up the stairs instead of walking
  • Play with your kids in the garden

It might seem a lot to do everyday but you only need to do a few exercises at a time. Remember: little and often. I’ve been on this regime for about 2 weeks now and am amazed at how much strength and flexibility I’ve gained.

Why not challenge yourself to do this for the next 21 days?
Why 21? Well, it seems that’s how long it takes to form a habit.

Disclaimer: I’m not a trained fitness expert; the above tips are what I follow personally and may not be suitable for every one. Please check with a doctor before starting any exercise regime.

Which Foods Give YOU Energy?

Healthy foods are something that we are told to eat all the time for lots of different reasons.  Most people have that point in the day when they crash. They become tired, cranky and hungry. When this happens, one may reach for a number of things to help them make it though the rest of their day. Coffee, candy, snack foods, or energy boosters are some of the things someone may try. For most people, these things don’t work, though. High sugar or caffeinated consumables will give you a quick boost of energy but it is short lived.   These are not healthy foods.  Soon, you will be back to square one. Tired, cranky and wanting to lay down with your favorite pillow.

Why does this happen? Well, it’s simple. It is all about what we eat. Our bodies use food as energy. Both carbohydrates and proteins give our bodies energy. Carbohydrates are sugars, starches and fiber. There are two groups of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are found in many cereals, snack foods, soft drinks, crackers, breads and even pasta. These food items are processed by the body quickly which means you will have a boost of energy soon after eating, however the spike in energy will only last for a short time.  Healthy foods they are not.

Proteins and complex carbohydrates take longer for the body to break down. Complex carbs are things such as bran, whole grain wheat, lentils, peas, and beans. These food items take longer to break down so the body doesn’t experience spikes in energy instead it has a gradual release of energy.

Proteins are found in meats, eggs and nuts. Like complex carbohydrates, proteins take longer for the body to break down. Because of this, you will have energy for a longer period of time and not become hungry as quickly.

Physical energy is not the only thing that will benefit from eating complex carbs and proteins. Brain function will also increase by eating healthy foods.

Healthy Foods

So, now that we understand “why” we need to figure out how to avoid the midday burnout. First, read labels! Avoid foods that list sugar or high fructose corn syrup both are simple sugars (carbs). Eat more “whole foods” such as fruits, vegetables and grains. Look for products that are made with whole grains. You will be surprised at how many things that look healthy, are not.  Remember there are reasons to eat high carb foods as well as low carb recipes.

Also, eat six smaller meals a day verses three large meals. Remember that your body is constantly burning the food you eat so we need to be feeding it. The trick with six meals a day is the word “small“. You can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner but down size them and throw in three snacks. This will keep your energy level balanced. Avoid prepackaged snacks like crackers, chips or candy. A snack of nuts will give you energy and a piece of fruit will help with your sweet tooth.

There is no one “food” that will give you the energy you need. Changing your overall outlook on food and how your body uses it will. Remember, everyone is powered by the healthy foods we eat.  Cleansing your liver is a good idea but don’t forget other parts of your body.