Common mistakes

HEALTH:

Whether you’re new to the gym or have been going for years, there are some mistakes that gym-goers make time and time again.

If you’ve reached a plateau in your progress or you’re just not getting where you want to be fast enough, there’s a good chance you need to change your approach.

EXERCISE:4

We all tend to repeat the things we like doing, so it’s no wonder that once we find a workout that suits us we stick to it. However, this may not not be doing you any favours.

Try changing your your programme after about 4-6 weeks to avoid getting into a pattern that stops producing results. Try using a machine you’ve never used before, or if you usually stick to cardio then add in some weights or a body pump class.

NUTRITION:

You’ve been eating lots of reduced fat products specially designed for weight loss but are still finding it hard to lose weight?

Reduced fat foods often have a very high sugar content to make them more palatable. Try swapping reduced fat products for unprocessed, low GI alternatives. These result in a more steady, balanced insulin release, making fat easier to burn and less likely to be stored.

© Sarah West Nutrition

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Sugar hit

HEALTH:

The more sugar you consume, the greater the rise in blood sugar and consequently in insulin levels within the body.

Insulin not only converts sugar into an instant energy source, it also encourages the storage of fat. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable is therefore one of the most important factors in sustaining your energy levels and maintaining a healthy weight.

EXERCISE:

Research has shown that long-term, regular exercise can significantly improve the body’s ability to control fluctuating blood sugar levels.

During strenuous activity your body transports any available sugar directly to your muscles, thus helping to reduce excess sugar within the bloodstream (and preventing it from being stored as fat).

NUTRITION:

Try swapping white bread, white rice, white pasta and sugary cereals for nutrient-dense wholegrain alternatives which take longer to digest.

These foods release their sugar more slowly into your bloodstream, helping to reduce rapid insulin release and keep your energy levels and hunger under control.

 

© Sarah West Nutrition

Good fat, bad fat

HEALTH:

We’re bombarded with supposedly guilt-free, low fat options in the snack aisle at the supermarket. But how healthy are they really?

When fat is removed, more sugar is generally added to improve taste and appeal to consumer’s taste buds. An excess of sugar in the diet triggers the over-secretion of our fat storage hormone, insulin; so while our low-fat options have steadily increased, so have obesity rates.

EXERCISE:

High intensity interval training – involving a mix of intense effort followed by bouts of recovery – is one of the most effective ways to burn excess body fat in the gym.

To get the most out of an interval session you must ensure that you really push yourself, then ease right off during the recovery periods. Try a 2:2 work/rest ratio to start with and then gradually decrease the length of your rest periods as your stamina improves. You will soon see the benefits.

NUTRITION:

Are you fat-phobic? Essential fatty acids actually help to balance the key hormones that exert control over your weight and should never be avoided.

To increase your essential fatty acid intake, up your intake of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring and sardines. If you’re vegetarian or not keen on fish, take a good quality essential fatty acid supplement (such as Eskimo 3 stable fish oil or Solgar’s fish oil concentrate) or try adding a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to your morning smoothie or mixed into dips and salad dressings.

© Sarah West Nutrition