Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Coffee & Exercise

Many people will tell you that coffee is generally “a bad thing” before exercise. It dehydrates the body, causes false alertness and overall, doesn’t help matters.

However, studies have shown that the dehydration doesn’t actually happen as a result of coffee. It usually occurs as a result of things “getting moving” and electrolytes being lost. In fact, coffee (and caffeine in other forms) can actually improve your performance, both during a workout and when in recovery afterwards!

Provided it is consumed at the best time, and in the right way, caffeine can improve physical and mental performance, improving total distance and sprint speed in runners, for example.

Take a look at this Runners World article for more information.

Maths of Weight Loss & Why Exercise is Not the Messiah

My main reason for changing my way of life, adding in exercise and committing to self improvement is my need to lose weight. As I have read more and more about what I need to do, I have realised that although exercise is important, nay, necessary, it is not the prime factor involved in weight loss.

Time to throw a bit of maths around. I realise that these theoretical numbers are solely existent in a calculation, but they do provide a good comparison.

To start, lets look at what I eat in a day (calorie wise)

Breakfast1040 cal
4x Crumpets – 960 cal
3x Tbsp low fat spread – 80 cal

Lunch – 747 cal
3x Slices bread – 264 cal
2x Tbsb low fat spread – 54 cal
1x Tbsp light mayo – 90 cal
5x Slices thin ham – 175 cal
1x Pack crisps – 95 cal
1x Chocolate biscuit – 69 cal

Dinner – 1,003 cal
150g Steamed rice – 540 cal
2x Chicken breast – 256 cal
1/2 Jar curry sauce – 116 cal
1 Tbsp Sunflower Oil – 91 cal

Total Daily – 2797

Assuming that most days, this will be greater – round up to 3,000 (including snacks). I have taken a single day to extrapolate. All calorie counts taken from Calorie Counter.

Weekly Total – 21,000

Now, taking a look at what is burnt, I have used the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculator and it states that I currently burn 2259.32 calories per day, or 15,815.24 per week.

Add on to that my exercise total of approximately 2300 per week, I have a total of 18,115.24 calories burnt per week.

I know that this does not account for any incidental exercise, such as walking to the shops, walking up and down stairs, dancing or playing with my son, but does that account to just under 3000 calories per week?

I am currently showing an excess of 2884.76 calories per week. Again, using the BMR Calculator, I know that a deficit of 3,500 calories is equivalent to roughly 1lb of weight. The calculation isn’t great, as it shows that I should still be putting on weight, where I am actually losing. I think this is a combination of me overestimating my daily calorific intake, and the calculation underestimating my BMR (I have quite a lot of muscle mass due to carrying me around).

However, the point behind this post is clear. Of your weekly calorific burn, and in comparison to your intake, exercise really isn’t worth a lot. It can be enough to earn a drink, or a dessert, but is not the be all and end all to weight loss. True sustainable weight loss comes from developing a clear eating and exercise plan, and sticking to it.

Just as an aside…. If you burn 400 calories running, you have earnt…:

One Krispy Kreme cookies & kreme doughnut
One Krispy Kreme cookies & kreme doughnut

Is it worth it?

Information Overload

Since starting out on my mission, I have gathered a lot of information about running, exercise, healthy eating and numerous other bits and bobs. However, the problem is, putting them all into practice simultaneously is difficult! This post is as much for me as anyone reading. Here I will try to bring together everything which I have learned….

Starting out in Running

15 steps to kick off your running journey, or check out the FAQ‘s for some other answers! Find some of the terminology and get to know your new world.

The Importance of Friends

Friends are important to keep you committed, why not use exercise to make some new ones?

Make Your Workout Work For You

Don’t waste time in the gym, make every second count! An effective warmup can make or break your workout. How you run can make your workout more efficient and let you get the distance or time which you are looking for. Sports drinks and water both have their benefits when working out, choose the best for you. Running in the heat of summer isn’t great, so find a way to keep up your programme without too much pain!

Activate Your Superpower

Why not switch on beast mode during exercise (or any other part of your life), and always succeed! Also, find your alter ego, the superhero inside, and channel their powers!

Weight Training

By increasing muscle density you can increase calorific burn. Read my guide over two parts for a quick how to!

Exercise Soundtrack

There are many places claiming to have the perfect soundtrack – build your own! Listen to some of my own tunes or find inspiration for your own.

Rewards

Earndit is a great place to earn rewards for exercise, pulling data from many different apps!

Workout Planning

Many ways to find the perfect workout! Get smart and figure out how your body works to get the most out of your workout. Find a way which you believe will help you reach your goal, and follow your own method, it will work!

Keep Your Chin Up

Remember why you want to succeed, and stick to it. Also realise that exercise helps you mentally! For those times that it seems that little bit too far, just find something which helps you out of the rut. Find the motivation to get up and out and exercise! Once you have that motivation, keep your eye on the prize and use those around you as even more stimulus to succeed. Find your own personal hero as a guide to success. Beat your own laziness, as it is easily found within all of us.

Healthy Eating

Changing the way you eat involves lots of steps, and also lots of slips. Find a way to make those changes work for you. Choose a plan and stick to it, whether it is paleo or just healthy eating, faddy diets do not work, so choose something sustainable!

Bling Hunters

Finishers medals are a huge point of contention in the running community, where do you stand?

I have posted on a few other topics, have a look around and see if there is anything which takes your fancy! If there is anything you would like me to blog on, let me know in the comments and I will do my best!

Rapid Science

A quick science lesson today on the ins and outs of weight loss and how a person’s actions will have an effect on how much is lost.

First of all – let me clarify. This is the science, and only the science. Some things which these points allude to are not particularly healthy, and others may not suit a certain individual’s lifestyle. However, the principles are overall correct, and should be researched with a little more care before making any decisions. If you have any questions, refer to your medical practitioner.

Breakfast

Often pegged as “The most important meal of the day”, breakfast does have its benefits for weight loss. After a night asleep, your metabolism, just like the rest of your body, takes a hard earned rest. To encourage a quick startup with great efficiency, breakfast is ideal. Furthermore, as breakfast encourages stable blood sugar, it reduces the overall production of insulin, which stores sugars as fats. In addition to this, a study by Imperial College London did find that people who skipped breakfast were more attracted to high calorie foods at lunchtime.

However…

Sounds quite easy, kick start metabolism by eating breakfast, cut down the cravings, win! Not so fast. Another study, this time in Glasgow, found that by exercising before eating anything in the morning, a higher proportion of fat was burnt in comparison to carbohydrate. Logically, this makes complete sense. After a night of sleep, your body has happily burnt off all carbohydrate left in your system, just, you know, staying alive. By waking up and getting moving, you are not giving your body the food that it desires so, making it resort to burning off the stores it is holding on to. This also has the added benefit of giving your morning metabolism something meaty to work on, forcing it to hit the ground running, keeping up a decent rate of burn throughout the day. By holding off eating for at least an hour after exercise, your body can residually continue to burn fat, removing heat, keeping cells oxygenated and overall recovering. If you feed it, fair enough you may not put more fat on, but you also will not lose it!

Eating Too Little

Surely by eating less, your body will resort to burning fats? No, sorry. Unfortunately, the human body is not designed to prioritise weight loss over survival, and it really shows up in this case. If you do not eat enough to fuel the fires, the fire will turn to embers, and eventually go out. By maintaining the flames, at least at a low level, you can keep them burning without losing the flames. Relating this to the body… starving yourself means that your body will progressively turn off systems until the expense is equal to that which is eaten. You will burn fats, at least to begin with, but eventually, your body will hold on to any form of fuel which it can use to maintain survival. It will reduce the amount of energy sent to the brain, muscles, pancreas, liver, skin and hair, gradually reducing the function of the body.

The simplest way is to eat what feels comfortable, and brings a steady weight loss of no more than 2lbs per week (after stabilising). Look at the guideline daily amounts of calories and find a guideline there.

Eating at the Right Time

Continuing the fire analogy, eating at the right time is vital to encouraging good weight management. Why build up a fire when there is nothing burning? By eating high calorie foods during sedentary time, your body will convert everything which is not used in staying alive into long storage sugars and  fats. Focussing on eating higher calories immediately before or after exercise means that energy will be spent on the exercise itself rather than being stored. Furthermore, eating after exercise means that the fires will continue burning for a little longer, overall increasing calorie burn.