Friday, November 26, 2010

Lets Get Fibre Active!

What if I told you there is an ingredient in certain foods that could help you reduce your risk of constipation, hemorrhoids, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, obesity, colon cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Would you be interested to know what that ingredient was?

The magic ingredient is.. FIBRE! Fibre is one of nature's great ingredients that does wonders for our body. Fibre is a virtually indigestible substance that is found mainly in the outer layers of plants. Fibre is a special type of carbohydrate that passes through the human digestive system virtually unchanged, without being broken down into nutrients. Carbohydrates constitute the main source of energy for all body functions; (ehealth MD).

Fibre has huge effects on our digestive processes since it is indigestible. There are two types of fibre that we consume, Soluble and Insoluble Fibre.
  • Soluble Fibre-is made up of polysaccharides (carbohydrates that contain three or more molecules of simple carbohydrates), and dissolves in water. It has a beneficial effect on body chemistry, such as lowering blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Insoluble Fibre-is mainly made up of plant cell walls, and it cannot be dissolved in water. It has a good laxative action.
By consuming both types of fibre our bodies reap double the benefits.
  • Fibre demands that food be more thoroughly chewed. It slows down the eating process and helps contribute to a feeling of being full, which in turn can help prevent obesity from overeating.
  • Fibre makes food more satisfying, probably because the contents of the stomach are bulkier and stay there longer.
  • Fibre slows digestion and absorption so that glucose (sugar) in food enters the bloodstream more slowly, which keeps blood sugar on a more even level.
  • Fibre is broken down in the colon     The main part of the large intestine, responsible for absorbing water and salts from the digested products of the small intestine, and passing the digested products into the rectum for removal from the body. (the main part of the large intestine) by bacteria (a process called fermentation), and the simple organic acids produced by this breakdown helps to nourish the lining of the colon.
  • These acids also provide fuel for the rest of the body, especially the liver, and may have an important role in metabolism.
So now that you know what fibre is and how it can help you, you might be wondering exactly what types of foods contain fibre and in what amounts. A good diet should contain approximately 25 to 30 grams of fibre a day. An average adult eats only half this amount. Below is a great chart which gives a list of great fibre dense foods:

List of High Fibre Foods
(The fibre count for most packaged foods can be found on the label.)

Apples with skin1 medium
Apricot3 medium
Apricots, dried5 pieces
Banana1 medium
Blueberries1 cup
Cantaloupe, cubes1 cup
Figs, dried2 medium
Grapefruit1/2 medium
Orange, navel1 medium
Peach1 medium
Peaches, dried3 pieces
Pear1 medium
Plum1 medium
Raisins1.5 oz box
Raspberries1 cup
Strawberries1 cup

Avocado (fruit)1 medium
Beets, cooked1 cup
Beet greens1 cup
Bok choy, cooked1 cup
Broccoli, cooked1 cup
Brussels sprouts1 cup
Cabbage, cooked1 cup
Carrot1 medium
Carrot, cooked1 cup
Cauliflower, cooked1 cup
Cole slaw1 cup
Collard greens, cooked1 cup
Corn, sweet1 cup
Green beans1 cup
Celery1 stalk
Kale, cooked1 cup
Onions, raw1 cup
Peas, cooked1 cup
Peppers, sweet1 cup
Pop corn, air-popped3 cups
Potato, baked w/skin1 medium
Spinach, cooked1 cup
Summer squash, cooked1 cup
Sweet potato, cooked1 cup
Swiss chard, cooked1 cup
Tomato1 medium
Winter squash, cooked1 cup
Zucchini, cooked1 cup

Bran cereal1 cup
Bread, whole wheat1 slice
Oats, rolled dry1 cup
Pasta, whole wheat1 cup
Rice, dry brown1 cup

FIBER (grams)
Almonds1 oz
Black beans, cooked1 cup
Cashews1 oz
Flax seeds3 tbs
Garbanzo beans, cooked1 cup
Kidney beans, cooked1 cup
Lentils, red cooked1 cup
Lima beans, cooked1 cup
Peanuts1 oz
Pistachio nuts1 oz
Pumpkin seeds1/4 cup
Soybeans, cooked1 cup
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup
Walnuts1 oz
(Chart taken from

Remember, if your goal is fat loss you should be eating your grain based fibres after your workouts to effectively fuel your body at the right time so it doesn't store the excess carbs as fat.

If your diet has been depleted of fibre than it is best to start slowly, over 2-4 weeks, by incorporating some of the foods in the above chart. Don't start a high-fibre diet overnight! Your goal is to consume your daily recommendation of 25-30 grams of fibre a day after those 2-4 weeks. It's important to drink more fluids when you increase the amount of fibre you eat. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day, especially when increasing your fibre intake.

I hope this post has helped shed some light on the importance that fibre plays in promoting a long and healthy life. Feel free to leave your comments or questions below!

Yours in Great Health,

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hills and Thrills

It has been a while since we have put a training video on the blog so we thought we better get to work and come up with something for you!

So what we have is a great total body workout that will incorporate your legs during a hill sprint variation and sculpt those arms with some upper body strenght exercises. Not only will you be building some great strength and definition in your arms but get a great cardio, fat burning effect, with the hill sprints! Half of the exercises are done with the versatile TRX and the other half incorporate some body weight exercises!

Enjoy the session and let us know what you thought in the comments section below!

By the way if you didn't hear how Tamara, Dr. Michelle Wright and I busted some common fitness myths on WRS then check out the playback by clicking on the WRS logo here, "Fitness Myths Busted!"

Have a great weekend!

Fitfully Yours,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is your bucket too full?

I have been suffering a bit with bloggers block these past few weeks and have been a bit stuck in the creative department. I normally have a bucket full of ideas and thoughts running around my head, but recently, it has been rather stagnant! I have thought a lot about this and about the reasons why there are times when we feel like we could explode with ideas and other times when we feel we simply have nothing to say. After much pondering, I came to the conclusion that perhaps my bucket was simply too full of negative and sad thoughts and needed emptying to make space for more positive energy. Following a death in the family and other stressful events I was left feeling a little down.

When I was young...ok, very young, my bucket was generally full of trivial thoughts regarding friends.. me.. food.. me.. fun.. me.. the beach.. me...and so on. It would fill a little with innocent and trivial stuff and then empty out before reaching the brim . As the years went by and life started throwing a few bricks at me, my bucket started getting a bit fuller and a bit more challenging to carry around. In went puberty, crazy hormones, curves, exams, boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, new jobs, first home, mortgage, marriage, kids, moving countries, moving house, divorce, wrinkles, grey hair, re-marriage, new life, teenage kids....OMG! I think my cup runneth over!!

There comes a time when we must all sit still and take a long deep look at our life and a long deep look into our overflowing buckets. I am no different to any other human being who has been on this planet for a few years. I have carried around a huge amount of heavy baggage, some of which I chose to take along and some of which I was simply forced to adopt. My baggage gets very heavy at times and I have to admit that the overwhelming weight often forces me down onto my knees. Indeed, there was a time when being on my knees was becoming a permanent position and I was becoming weaker and increasingly more fearful of ever reaching a place where I would be able to stand again. I suppose I could say that I had reached rock bottom, the end of the road or whatever place you might reach before the coffin closes.

I look back on this time of my life now, not with despair, but with gratitude. I am absolutely certain that I would not be the strong person I am today had I not suffered such intense emotional rawness. Although I am also certain that it was my strength that got me through in the end. I also believe that I needed to travel the high seas before reaching calmer waters. When you fall on your face, you have two choices. You either stay there or you get up. The only difference for me was that I only had one choice and three reasons to get back on track and if you have children, you know what I mean. That was 5 years ago and I would be lieing if I said I was all better now. Some wounds take a long time to heal and some never do, but life goes on regardless and there are days when I feel totally overwhelmed with my lot, especially when my bucket is too full! However, there is one thing that I have found which always makes my wounds feel better and that is exercise and a healthy diet.
The one thing that has been consistent in my life over the years has been a daily dose of exercise. I have always found that the best medication for a troubled mind has been high intensity cardio! Yes, these legs have covered many, many miles and I thank them every day. So now, when my bucket is full and my mind refuses to absorb any new information or allow any new ideas to light up my bulb, I simply sit still for a moment...... And then I move..... I turn off my phone, shut down the computer, take off into the wilderness and I climb a mountain. Literally. There is nothing quite like a 2 or 3 hour hike uphill with a final reward of an amazing view over the world below. And there I will sit and empty out my bucket and gather a bit more strength for the journey home. I am not saying you all need to go and climb a mountain, but I think it is a good idea to empty out your buckets from time to time and to maybe use exercise as a form of therapy for your mind. If you can balance a strong mind with a strong body, your bucket will take a lot longer to fill.

Peace and strength to you all,


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Can A Qualified Trainer Really Improve Your Results?

Great research study that came out not too long ago that I thought you will all be interested in!

Supervised exercise versus non-supervised exercise for reducing weight in obese adults. Nicolaï SP et al J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2009 Mar;49(1):85-90.

This research study looked at the effects of training with supervision/instruction (ie a qualified trainer) versus “advice”

Two groups – Group one met a trainer twice a week for 4 months (as a group).
Group two received basic advice to increase physical activity and access to a fully equipped gym (any exercise they did was unsupervised).

The group with supervision lost on average 362% more fat over a 4-month period. (Total fat loss of 13.4lbs in the coached group – and only 3.7lbs in the advice only group)

Interesting side note -they made these improvements without ANY dietary advice given.

This shouldn't be a surprise to most people. For those of you who have taken part in a group training class, you may have found that you pushed yourself a little bit further than you would have had you been training alone. Another research study suggested that a person would exercise with 30% more intensity while being supervised or watched by someone else. Training in a group or with a trainer gives you that extra motivation to get one more repetition or to hold that plank a little longer than you thought you could. Just imagine the results you could get by training with 30% more intensity.

Having a qualified trainer is like having a navigator to help you get to your destination. If you were sailing on a ship and had a destination in mind but no map or plan on how to get there, chances are high that you might get lost along the way. Storms may arise to throw you off course but a great navigator can put you back on course and get you to that final destination. The trainer is your lighthouse in the fog, so to speak. Not only can they provide you with a programme that will get you the best results possible but they can also give you the proper guidance to help you to perform exercises with quality form, thus decreasing injuries.

If you are serious about changing your body – hire a coach, or get a great training partner or join a team to help you get you to your destination. Let us know about your positive experiences with a fitness coach and/or group training in the comments section below!

Yours in Health,