25 Aug 2011

Vitamin supplements of the future!

Hi folks,

Did you take a vitamin tablet today? If so was it because you’re not eating a balanced nutrition for whatever reason or maybe you are but you take them as ‘back-up’? Many nutritionists believe that our 5-a-day, recommended daily allowance (RDA), & guideline daily amounts (GDA), are too low compared to what the body actually needs to combat inflammation & disease. Apparently due to centuries of intense farming our soils are so nutrient poor that we can no longer get substantial vitamins from the crop. So perhaps the reason that these figures continued to be quoted are to make the best of a bad situation. Now I’m not into scaremongering but we are increasingly learning more about our bodies & this may be a possibility as population expands.

So, what might the vitamin tablet of the future look like? Well, the latest research has discovered that we can only get the most out of vitamins when they are digested in certain combinations. In the gut some vitamins prevent others form being absorbed & some are needed to help others absorb. The correct combinations are found in the foods we eat, not through chance but by our bodies evolving to use them this way. So you see, our bodies have not evolved a gut that can make use of all the vitamins at once, only in various combinations. Imagine receiving a letter where all the words where jumbled up – useless! Therefore the pill of the future is most likely to be one that releases vitamin combinations into the gut at different stages (remember Willy Wonka’s ‘3 course meal’ chewing gum!).

But for the time-being my advice is to have a well rounded nutrition & undergo vitamin / mineral deficiency testing to discover if you are lacking in any. More on this testing in future blogs! Add a comment below to share your vitamin habits & opinions.


18 Aug 2011

Don't exercise more than you need to.

Hi folks,

There are many questions to ask when you’re new to exercise, even the more advanced gym-go’ers actually have quite basic questions, a common one being “how often should I really exercise?” We have busy lives so lets not spend longer in the gym than we need to. The answer to this question really depends on what your goals are.

The national guidelines recommend spending 30min per day doing an activity that makes you slightly short of breath, 5 times per week. This is great for keeping healthy, however if you goal is to lose body fat then your body is only just starting to utilise it’s fat stores at the end of this 30min period, therefore I would perhaps recommend  40 – 90mins worth of moderate exercise 5 times per week for optimum results (after approx 90min of continuous exercise without fuel the body can start to breakdown muscle).

If your goal is to increase cardiovascular fitness levels then the good news is that you only need to go to the gym around 3 times per week but just make sure that the intensity covers a wider range, say up to 90% of your max.

When it comes to weights training then there is lots of flexibility depending on what muscles you want to train & what the desired affects are, so it best to ask an instructor for detail on this one.

Another interesting fact is that it’s easier to maintain your fitness / strength levels than to progress them. In other words research shows that if you normally exercise 5 times per week & are happy with your health, then cut this back to 2 -3 times per week. As long as the usual intensity is kept in those sessions then you will stay the same (good news if your having a busy week or going on holiday).

Hope this is helpful

11 Aug 2011

We need change!

Hi folks,

Although I’m no millionaire I really love my lifestyle. The thing that keeps me passionate & productive is having good variety in my day. I spend a lot of my time working on differnt areas of the company so this means dividing my time between working out & about, & working from home, then there’s house chores & social time too.

Keeping tabs on all these things is anything but boring & I know that it keeps me healthy in different ways. So if you’re feeling the mid-week grind & craving for the weekend to come then take note:

  1. Where possible, try to fill your working day with a number of different tasks, spending a few hours on varied work projects. This will stimulate your brain, raise your productivity, make your day go quicker, & keep things off the back-burners.

  1. Work in different locations. Get out of the office & travel to meetings, run a few work errands, or split your shift by going to the gym / supermarket for an hour then work a little later. Making your day more physically active not only burns a few more calories but lowers stress levels by changing your environment. It also reduces the risk of muscular-skeletal disorders (such as lower back pain) caused by postural fixity.

If you do have this amount of control over your job then use it to your advantage. The latest research regarding workplace health & productivity highlights psychosocial elements such as this!

 “A change is almost as good as a break”
                                                                        Quote by: Me, just now.


4 Aug 2011

Going Organic?

Hi folks,

A quick note to clear up any mist regarding organic produce & to aid your shopping choices:

Organic crops

What is organic food? Before looking in to it, like me you might have thought that this was food grown without the use of man made chemicals – Nope! For crops to be classed as organic they are allowed to be grown with some pesticides & fertilizers but these are strictly monitored by DEFRA & FSA. However, farming techniques such as crop rotation & good environmental management are employed on organic farms to give a better quality crop.


We’ve all seen the awful TV documentaries of intensive chicken farming & I think it’s safe to say we all know this is not a great example. DEFRA & FSA check that organic livestock is kept in ethical conditions to ensure it has a good quality of life. It is fed on quality ‘real’ food & kept within specific breeding programs to ensure the least chance of pests or disease.

For a food to be labelled organic, it must contain at least 95% organic produce. Tests have shown that organic food can have significantly higher nutrient value & a preferred taste to the same amount of non- organic food. However due to the extra management effort described above, it also carries a higher price tag. I know that we would all eat organic if money was no object, but thinking realistically what choices will you make on your next shopping trip? (Do we spend our £10 on a larger amount of lower quality food, or a smaller amount of higher quality food?)

*I’ve just uploaded a video of my Workforce Release sessions at HETA to my You Tube channel! Click here to take a look then subscribe to be notified when the next clip goes up.