Weight loss secrets – snacks

Balancing your blood sugar with protein, fat and carbohydrates at every meal and snack is one of the secrets to optimal energy levels, good mood and a healthy, lean body. Now, snacks are not for everyone. If you work with a nutritionist for weight loss you get the composition of your breakfast, lunch and dinner right, you might not need to snack but for the majority of people eating a well balanced mid morning and mid afternoon snack most days helps you get to your optimal weight by controlling your blood sugar.

Blood sugar levels are very important for providing the energy we need to go about our daily activities. Blood sugar is defined as the amount of glucose that is in the blood at any one time. All carbohydrates that you consume are broken down into sugar called glucose, which then provide energy to your muscles, heart and brain.

Blood sugar levels should stay fairly steady through the day; however problems arise when blood sugar levels fluctuate erratically. If blood sugar levels are continually high because you are eating too much refined or processed carbs it may mean that the hormone insulin, which signals cells to absorb glucose may no longer work properly. If blood sugar levels are low or continually up and down trough skipping meals, leaving lon gaps between meals or just from eating the wrong stuff this can lead to energy slumps, tiredness during the day or lunchtime dips, if blood sugar levels are particularly low it is known as hypoglycaemia where you can suffer from the shakes, cold sweats and light-headedness.

Poorly controlled blood sugar like this may lead to binge eating at main meals, whereby you overeat from being so hungry. However by simply eating well balanced snacks throughout the day, controlling blood sugar levels you can reduce the veracious hunger that you may experience at main meals and eventually lose weight. Here are another 2 great articles about how to lose weight

A modern approach to weight loss

The secrets to success of weight loss  

Here are some of my favourite snacks:

Fruit and nuts

When I tell people to eat nuts I’m astonished at the response – “nuts are bad for you” “nuts are full of fats”, well they are full of fat, but full of healthy fats such as unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are heart healthy. Nuts are also a good source of protein and provide a whole host of vitamins and minerals as well as beta sitosterols that help control cholesterol. By eating a handful of nuts with some low glycemic load fruits such as an apple, pear, plums or berries you get a perfect blood sugar balancing snack.

Crudités and dip

Simply chop up some carrots, celery, peppers or even a courgette and serve it with some hummus, nut butter or even avocado dip for another great snack. The vegetables provide fibre, vitamins, mineral and antioxidants and the hummus, tahini, nut butter or avocado dip provides the protein and healthy fats.

Bounce balls

Bounce balls are great little protein snacks that come in different flavours such as whey protein and peanuts, almond, cashew and pecan. These snacks provide a good balance of protein, carbohydrate and fats to balance your blood sugar. You could simply eat one of the bounce balls with a piece of fruit.

Check out Steve discussing his weight loss secrets at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBzuCMIugnA

So if you want to find out how to lose weight click here

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Manipulating hormones for weight loss

Manipulating hormones during exercise is one the key elements to successful weight loss. This can be done through a nutritionist for weight loss or through exercise. Research has shown that doing resistance training, particularly when performed in a circuit as demonstrated in the workout video clip, increases certain hormones such as testosterone, cortisol and growth hormone. The goal with this type of weight training circuit is to produce as much lactate as possible in the working muscles. When lactate builds up in your muscles you get that burning sensation as they quiver under the strain of hard exercise.

Lactate production is directly correlated to growth hormone production – so training hard to produce as much lactate as possible is a great way to burn fat. Here’s how it works. Lactate is an acid and as the lactate builds up in your muscles and blood your blood pH goes down (becoming more acidic). This causes your growth hormone production to go up. In the liver growth hormone is converted to a substance called insulin growth like factor 1 (IGF1) and this causes more fat to be burnt during exercise thus making you lose more body fat.

Blood lactate concentration is correlated to the amount and size of the muscles used during an exercise. Therefore using exercises that target a large group of muscles such as a squat is much more effective for building up lactate than using an exercise that only uses a small amount of muscle mass such as wrist curls. When you perform a circuit of exercises for one set of muscles such as the quads in a 6, 12, 25 circuit you get a huge lactate build up. The exercises shown in the video clip 6, 12, 25 workout

A1. Kettle bell squat to upright row x 6
A2. Alternating lunge x 12
A3. Hip bridges x 25

This circuit targets the legs and should only take 1-2 minutes to complete but you are certainly going to feel it. After you have finished the hip bridges rest for 2-3 minutes and repeat the circuit again and rest for a further 2-3 minutes. Try to do as many circuits of this 6, 12, 25 as you can in 20 minutes for a great lower body lactate workout. You should feel nauseous within 10 minutes of doing fat loss circuits like this as the lactate builds up, if not you are not training hard enough.

If you really want to get supper results pick different exercises for different body parts and train twice a day 6 days a week for 2 weeks, then back off for a week only training once a day. Here is an example:

Day 1 Quads circuit a.m. posterior chain circuit p.m.
Day 2 Chest and triceps circuit a.m. back and biceps circuit p.m.
Day 3 Repeat day 1
Day 4 Repeat day 2
Day 5 Repeat day 1
Day 6 Repeat day 2
Day 7 off

Remember the more weight you use for a given exercise means the more calories are burned. Therefore remember to use large compound exercises such as squats, lunges, dead lifts, presses and rows for your A1 exercises, pick a moderate exercise for A2 and pick an easier exercise for A3 as the high reps will wipe you out. You should also increase the weight you use for each exercise with each workout.

This type of workout is also great if you are stuck in a hotel on business or on holiday or even out in a park where you have no or minimal exercise equipment, just pick 3 body weight exercises and perform 6, 12, 25 reps to create that lactate build up.

It’s also important that you eat right whilt doing this type of training.

A modern approach to weight loss

Wright loss secrets – snacks  

So if you want to find out how to lose weight click here  

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Avoid the pitfalls of joining a gym by going outdoors

The latest trend in the fitness industry is Outdoor Bootcamps, these camps are popping up in every park in every city in the UK. Bootcamps offer a great alternative to plush health clubs and their joining fees, expensive monthly payments, 1 year tie in contracts and aggressive 3 months cancellation notice periods. You see, when you join a gym you may be getting classes, the latest gym equipment, towels and soap in the showers, but that is it. You are paying to walk through the door and use the facilities – nothing more. If you want any further expertise such as a personal trainer then you have to pay more money. Nor do you get any nutrition advice (although many unqualified and unregulated personal trainers will claim that they provide nutrition advice), nor will you get any regular goal assessment and monitoring, motivation or accountability. You are basically left to your own devices to use the gym as the club’s sales team peruse the elusive targets of securing more sales and generating more members.

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Carb loading part 4

Carbohydrate loading should be done leading up to an important event such as a half marathon, marathon, triathlon or other endurance event where for 3-4 days prior to the event you can safely carbohydrate load as outlined by the AIS, and after having completed the event eat normally again. It might still be wise to consume some more nutrient dense carbohydrates foods such as tropical fruit, dried fruit and whole grains instead of foods such as jam, honey and muffins.

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Carb loading part 3

In the example from the AIS below the foods, although high in carbohydrates, are also low in nutrition. Consider the kerbs’ cycle and electron transport chain (I can see you eyes glazing over here but bear with me). You don’t need to understand all the chemical reactions, just the fact that in order to turn all the carbohydrate in to energy you need a whole host of vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, CoQ10, copper, iron and sulphur.

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Carb loading part 2

Carbohydrate loading is a strategy employed by athletes that involves reducing training volume whilst simultaneously increasing the amounts of carbohydrates consumed in the days leading up to a game or event. The aim is to up regulate an enzyme called glycogen synthase (an enzyme that creates muscle fuel called glycogen) and cause the muscles to store higher than normal levels of glycogen. Muscle glycogen stores are normally about 100-120mmol/kg BW, but with carbohydrate loading they can reach 150-225mmol/kg BW.

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Carb loading part 1

Carbohydrate loading is a concept that both athletes and the general pubic know of. This is largely due to the marketing of carbohydrate based products such as whole grains, sugary snack foods and sports drinks being the champion or elite sports performance, and in some part to information passed on via successful ex-elite athletes extolling the virtues of the dietary regimens that propelled them to the top of their sport. The concept of carb loading improving performance has been so successful that people think they need to carb load for all and any sports, be it before going to the gym, running a marathon or playing chess!

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Crafty bastards won’t get away with it!

Re-branding high fructose corn syrup or the artificial sweetener aspartame will not change the fact that they are poisonous junk foods that cause insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, but this is exactly what the manufacturers of both products are doing. Both The Corn Refiners Association in the US who make HFCS and the manufacturers of aspartame are rebranding their products as ‘corn sugar’ – to drop the association with fructose and its deleterious side effects – and ‘AminoSweet’ respectively.

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B vitamins good for the brain

Some research came out last week that suggested that high dose B vitamins can help protect the brain from the signs of aging such as early onset dementia. This is great news as nutritionists have been arguing for years that supplements are good for your health and help prevent disease. We have also been arguing that we can’t obtain all the nutrients we need for optimal health from our food.

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Avoid processed food

Check out Steve discussing why we should avoid processed food @ http://www.youtube.com/user/peakxvfitness  

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