5 Stripes – Custom Mixed Organic Cereals

Posted by Mark

5stripes

I heard about 5 Stripes from a friend of mine and I thought it was an interesting idea. 5 Stripes is a local creation and according to their website they’re the first company in the Middle East that allows you to custom mix your own cereal from a wide range of organic ingredients. They also have pre mixed cereals but whether you custom mix or go with a pre mix, they all come in cool long cylindrical containers.

You can custom mix your ingredients using their website and once you place an order you get a special code which you could use the next time you want to reorder the same mix. That way you don’t waste time creating your custom mix over and over again. If you’re interested, check out their website [Here]


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A Tip for Keeping Your Nutrition in Check

Posted by Amy Freeman

caloriecounting

Post by Amy Freeman

When I first moved to Kuwait from New Zealand, my workouts stayed pretty much the same as did the contents of my diet. So when I found it really hard to lose weight one of the things that I realized is that I hadn’t taken in to account how somewhat inactive my life had become outside my workouts. It’s a common thing in Kuwait especially in summer which starts in May and lasts all the way till October.

So I started doing something that I had never done before and to be honest I had never had to do before. I started counting my macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein) and calories.

After finding that this had positive results I suggested it to some of my clients to try out as well. They also ended up having positive results.

What this made me realize first and foremost is that ‘accidental exercise'; such as walking down 2 blocks to pay a phone bill or taking the dog to the park does actually make a difference overall to your body composition and it does make it easier to be a little more flexible with nutrition.

It also made me realize how much unnecessary snacking I was doing such as while preparing dinner or when I was bored. Probably the biggest thing I noticed is how much of a difference NOT eating out makes.

There are many ways to find out how many calories a day you should be having and what your macros should be but I suggest going to see either a nutritionist or a reputable coach that has experience. If you don’t have access to either of those things then you can get an idea of where to start at this website [Here]

Most of the time it is a trial and error thing, everybody is different and sometimes it takes a
couple of months to fine tune things.

Lastly remember that not all calories and macros are equal. For example, If you have a 1,500 calorie diet of chips and chocolate versus a 1500 calorie diet of beef, quinoa and broccoli, there is going to be a huge difference in how those two bodies look and perform.

Happy Training Kuwait

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.


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Quick Ramadan Workout

Posted by Amy Freeman

Post by Amy Freeman

As we approach the middle of Ramadan, energy levels start to drop as energy reserves are getting low. I always say to my clients that training during Ramadan should be a time for maintenance and active recovery. It’s not the time to go for PB’s or peak in a training cycle. I’m also very aware that it can be hard for people to get to the gym as often as they did due to chaotic traffic, family obligations and other commitments.

So this week I wanted to put up a full body weight, circuit style workout you can do at home or at your own convenience. This should be completed one exercise directly after another with as little rest as possible between exercises but with a 2-4min rest between rounds.

Complete 10-15 repetitions of everything and 3-5 rounds:

Push-ups
Squat Jumps
Tricep Push-ups
Forward Stepping Alternating Lunges
Alternating Plyometric Lunges
Burpees
30 to 60 Seconds Abdominal Plank

Remember although we want your heart rate to be high, take it at your own pace, listen to your body and rest as needed.

Ramadan Mubarak,
Happy Training Kuwait

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.


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Where does motivation come from?

Posted by Amy Freeman

motivation

Post by Amy Freeman

Someone asked me the other day, how long have you been exercising? I said, ‘well since I can remember I have loved being active. When I was around 10 years old I started going to classes at the gym sporadically but then at around 13 I started going to the gym regularly (that was in the days when minimum age wasn’t enforced much).

In fact I used to pester my parents so much to go that my dad would get me a gym membership for my birthday or at Xmas. I would come home from school, deliver leaflets around the neighborhood (my after school job) and then beg my mum to drive me over the other side of town to the fitness center.

My client was shocked and asked ‘What made you love it so much at that age?’ This question really made me think… and think… and think.

Finally after much deliberation I found the answer was really simple. ‘Because I wanted to be like my dad’.

He was my idol. He never ever pressured me to exercise or workout but I wanted to be as fit as he was. He had run marathons, he was a really good swimmer and generally just really fit. I remember one day venturing out on my first run aged around 11 (not really knowing what a marathon meant or that it was a specific distance) and I called him straight after and said ‘Dad I just ran a marathon!’. In actual fact I had just run around the 5km block that he helped me map out.

I also recall the school triathlon, I entered when I was maybe 9 and he helped me train for it. I remember looking for him in the crowd as I crossed the finish line and I ran and literally fell into his arms totally exhausted. He made me love sport because there was never anything negative attached to it and never any pressure or expectation and that meant I always felt like I was achieving something great.

To this day there is only positive emotions and memories that come from my sporting and exercise experiences. It’s probably why when there have been challenges in my life it’s the thing I turn to for comfort. I guess that’s why I love my job so much and wju I want to help other people experience that.

I tell this story because all to often people come in and they will openly admit they hate working out, or they hate the gym and after I got asked those questions by my client, I can’t help but think, do they hate the gym because it has negative meaning to them beyond just working out?

For example, some people start gyming because they are depressed and hate how they look so the gym represents those feelings related to low self esteem.

Or for some people the gym represents all the failed attempts to get in shape.

Or the gym and working out represents pain and feeling weak.

Does lasting and true motivation come from something bigger and more profound than just doing it for yourself?

I think it does. The human mind is a complex thing and I think that to believe that we are capable of achieving greatness in fitness goals (or really any life goal for that matter), without the belief of doing it for something greater, without the help of something greater than yourself isn’t enough.

Athletes are refreshing to talk to at times because they think of their body as a machine and a tool for doing a chosen task. When I asked an athlete what gets them excited about their sport the answer was ‘when I visualize the crowd cheering me on and the people and kids I’m inspiring it motivates me to bring my best’.

Or on a smaller scale I know a lady that runs marathons and she said that when she is 10km out from the finish line and in agony she visualizes her children cheering her on and that gives her the push she needs.

What if the gym represented part of what you do to stay healthy, happy and fit for your family or for a sport and you took the vanity out of it? I know it sounds crazy because most people have a goal when they join the gym and it’s usually ‘I wanna lose weight’, ‘it’s my wedding in 3 months’ etc etc. These kind of goals cause you to exert pressure on yourself and rather than being present in each workout and enjoying it, all you want is to get your goal and maybe workout again when you have another goal. So your weight and fitness goes up and down and so does your self esteem.

To illustrate this I have a client that has been one of the most successful weightloss/fatloss candidates I’ve ever trained. When I asked her what makes her so dedicated and determined her answer was refreshingly simple and went something like this:

‘Because I want my kids to know that being heathy is important and they are so impressed when they see how strong I have gotten.’

And you know what, this client always turns up with a smile and a positive attitude every day and has never missed a training session.

Happy Training Kuwait.

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.

Photo by Edie**


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Why going gluten free isn’t a fad, its free health care

Posted by Amy Freeman

bread

Post by Amy Freeman

I thought I would follow up last weeks post with some points on why I believe gluten isn’t necessary as part of anyone’s regular diet. This kinda leads on from why I believe that the ‘Paleo’ or ‘Whole Food’ nutrition is benefiting everyone not just for improved body composition, but for overall general health and wellbeing.

Gluten free seems to be a term that is thrown around a lot these days which has some people interested and others rolling their eyes thinking it’s another fad. Gluten is the protein in wheat and cereals that gives dough it’s elasticity and therefore bread it’s addictive, soft, chewy, air light texture.

So why is gluten getting such bad press now?

Well in the 2009 study published in Gastroenterology, it showed that celiac disease has increased in 50 years from 1 in 650 people to 1 in 120 people.

This is largely down to the difference in the wheat we are now consuming compared to our parents and grandparents.

In order to meet the demand for factories with the amount of processed food, the increased population and increased general consumption, wheat farmers now use a hybridized grain that grows fast, is bug resistant and contains new proteins that were never in original wheat plants. These new proteins are not easily digested causing widespread gluten intolerance, high rates of celiac disease, increased inflammation and really bad side effects.

After seeing the transformation in many clients that had never thought gluten had been an issue for them until they cut it out and all of a sudden saw bloating disappear and health issues lessen, I believe that many people have an intolerance of some kind to it and luckily most people I know whether friends, family or clients seem to be aware that they do feel better overall when they don’t have it as part of their regular diet.

It is also very apparent in supermarkets these days with the vast amount of gluten free products this is becoming a very adopted way of living for people and I can say i have noticed that the cost of gluten free products (in Kuwait) now compared to 2-3 years ages also validates that. 2-3 years ago it was a ridiculous amount of money for quinoa and gluten free flour options and after studying the supermarkets at places like Sultan Center and SaveCo, the prices are substantially lower than they used to be because of the many more market players of gluten free products.

So for those that may not be aware of some of the classic side effects that gluten can cause on your body this may help identify some tell tail signs:

– Bloating after eating bread, pasta or wheat based products. Bread for most is a standout.

– Irritable bowel episodes

– Constipation and or diarrhea

– Inflammation in the joints. I’ve even read celiac websites that have said white specs have showed up on an MRI of a patients brain that was found to be gluten and the cause of the patients migraines.

– Severe acne

– Headaches/migraines

-Skin irritation/Eczema

Just to finish be aware that when you opt for some gluten free products, they often will have more sugar, fat and fillers in them to make up for the lack of texture and taste from real wheat so always read the ingredients and make sure you are aware of what they are using instead of wheat and don’t be blinded by the gluten free label. This is kind of the same as fat free products. When something is taken out it has to be replaced, just be aware and make sure that you aren’t replacing your wheat with a chemical concoction of god know what.

Happy Training Kuwait

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.

Photo by jmlpyt


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Our grandparents had it right

Posted by Amy Freeman

paleobooks

Post by Amy Freeman

I remember in the early 90’s watching my nana and pop switch from butter to margarine, whole to skim milk and where possible, full fat to low fat. The 80’s and 90’s was the start of what would become a processed food epidemic. As Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig were constantly being advertised on TV and in magazines, leading the ‘weight loss’ industry and the ‘microwave meal’ industry, woman were becoming more body conscious and diabetes was on the rise. It became a highly publicized and popular belief that calories in and calories out was all that mattered, low fat was the key and all carbohydrates were equal. Enter the diabetes and obesity epidemic!

The unfortunate thing is that the belief systems that were used for weight loss in the 80’s and 90’s are still held in high regard to this day. Trying to convince people that eating natural butter is BETTER than processed margarine is a daily battle. Trying to convince people that full fat milk or cream is BETTER for your insulin levels than low fat or skimmed milk is hard to land with a lot of people.

The reason ‘Paleo’/Whole Food nutrition (or clean eating as I call it) has been so successful, is that it is taking people back to eating a very similar diet to those that lived in our grandparents era. Home made food, unprocessed junk food, lots of fruit, veggies and meat, this style of eating is identical to how our wirery, fit and non diabetic ancestors lived. Even though I remember my nana’s baking yummy desserts, they didn’t eat it in copious amounts and binge till they burst on a Saturday night. They worked it into their active, busy lifestyles and treated food as fuel and NOT as bribery or reward on a daily basis.

When my nana passed away and we were going through her bookshelf I remember the copious amounts of nutrition books she had collected over the years. Amongst what must have been around 50 of them, there were soup diet books, detox books, vegetarian diet books, liver cleansing books and a number of diabetes books. I remember feeling really impressed and proud that my nana had been so conscientious about being informed of health and wellbeing.

The problem is that behind all these diet books is a person trying to make money. Telling people to eat natural foods with correct portions and live a balanced lifestyle isn’t going to make the authors of these nutrition books any money. Instead, what sells is ‘14 Day Detox’s’,‘Lose 10 Pounds in 5 Days’, ‘Do the Dukan Diet’ or ‘Do the Atkins Diet’. Around the time that these books started becoming popular, curvy models were out and skinny was in and magazines really started to promote size 0 as ideal.

The amount of clients, family members and friends that I have seen fall into the trap of going on one of these unrealistic diets and rebound back from it (me included), is ridiculous. Through this a lot of people have developed unhealthy relationships’ with food from being convinced that low fat/ low carb is the only way to lose weight and then go 4 months without so much as one lick of an ice cream only to then rebound and go the other way and live in a chocolate coma for a month. Both extremes are as bad as each other and each time your body goes through this cycle is going to make it harder the next time you try to lose weight.

Being perfect, eating only grilled chicken and veggies, not socializing in case you slip up, feeling guilt when you have 2 eggs instead of 4 egg whites and doing 2 hours of cardio a day is not maintainable. Unless you are going to compete as a figure athlete and you are close to competition, quiet frankly, its stupid and absolutely unnecessary. I give it around 3-4 months before burnout and 4-6 months before you put all that weight you lost back on and then some.

Making healthy choices, eating whole foods like our grandparents and having a balanced workout routine and doing it consistently for 6-12-18 plus months is going to get you results that you can maintain forever. Yes you will need to be patient, it wont happen overnight and there will be times where you get frustrated but weight loss and well being should be treated as a marathon, not a sprint. It will be worth it when you have reached your goal and can still enjoy your life without feeling deprived of food or guilty every time you have a treat.

Happy Training Kuwait

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.

Image by akeelsworld


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Post Baby Body

Posted by Amy Freeman

baby1

Post by Amy Freeman

This post is a little outside the box from the usual fitness and health stuff but I feel it is an important issue especially in this day and age where most woman (and men for that matter) are striving for perfection. It is really easy to see why, especially with all these ‘reality’ shows, celebrities and now social media that give a very idealistic view of real life.

I have had a lot of insecure woman that have had children admit to being ashamed of their bodies, specifically stretch marks on their stomachs. Some wont even let their husbands see their body and in some extreme cases I’ve heard of woman that are back in the gym a week after birth, eating next to nothing and breast feeding all in the hope to reach that pre baby body in minimal time.

This has been playing on my mind for a while and it makes me feel sad that these woman feel so much pressure from society that they are so hard on themselves. On top of that they are so consumed with snapping back into shape, they aren’t able to enjoy the first weeks of their baby.

Pregnancy is such an individual thing and everyone’s experience is different but the bottom line is nobody has the right to make a woman feel ashamed of her body for growing a human. I mean even Kim Kardashian stayed out of the public eye for around 3 months post baby because she didn’t want to be seen.

The media has a lot to do with causing this shame amongst woman. It seems like a lot of celebrities can get back into shape no problem at all and a lot of woman are influenced by this totally screwed up, twisted reality.

The reality is that it usually takes around a year to lose baby weight safely. Yes, sometimes it takes less time and sometimes more, this also depends on whether you had a C-section or a natural birth, it depends on any complications, how much abdominal separation occurred, it depends on your genetics, it depends on what kind of shape you were in pre and during pregnancy, it depends on how many children you have had and it depends on your age. The list goes on.

So, I thought that I would include some of my tips that I give my clients that have had a baby, on what I think are key things to help you shed the baby weight while staying healthy.

– If you are breastfeeding your body’s metabolism is higher than usual which means you might be hungrier. Make sure you fuel your body with nutrient dense foods to fill you up like fruits, vegetables, nuts, salmon, lean meats and carbohydrates such as brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato and oats, also include lots of healthy fats rich in omega 3.

– Make sure you are drinking 2-4L of water per day.

– Don’t do any form of exercise till your doctor clears you.

– Remember that your body will still be recovering from birth for at least the first 6 weeks post birth so start with very light exercise and if possible, hire a trainer so they can keep you on the right track.

– Once you start your exercise routine just keep an eye on your milk quality if you’re feeding. In some people, long periods of intense exercise can reduce the milk quality so just keep an eye on it.

– Don’t be hard on yourself if it is taking longer than you thought to lose the baby weight. I 100% believe that consistency over time is what gets results, not perfection for a short time. Trust the process and be patient.

cindy

Just to finish, here is a photo of one of the most beautiful women in the world. She was and still is idolized all over the world by both women and men. Cindy Crawford, after 2 children still embraces her body with stretch marks for the world to see. So to mothers out there, give yourselves a break, train regularly, eat clean consistently and don’t get caught up with perfection because it doesn’t exist.

Happy training Kuwait.

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.


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There is more than one way to skin a cat

Posted by Amy Freeman

gbc

Post by Amy Freeman

As the saying goes, ’There is more than one way to skin a cat’, the same goes for fat loss and improving body composition. Just recently social media seems to be more swamped than usual with opinions on what works and what doesn’t and the funny thing about the fitness industry is that many of the people and trainers that have an opinion, believe that their way is the right way and the only way to get results.

I try to remain open minded, as fat loss and improving body composition isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ protocol, just like nutritional requirements will vary person to person. But, in my experience I have found that the German Body Composition Training is a good place to start. Now, like I said at the start, there are many people that have achieved massive results in a variety of ways but for the purpose of this blog, I’m going to talk about what I find works and if you are needing to change up your routine, or looking for some direction in the gym, then this may help.

German Body Composition (GBC for short) isn’t for the faint hearted. With that being said, everyone has to start somewhere so you can adjust exercises and rest times until you increase your lactate threshold and are able to handle more. Usually during a session of GBC I experience a high heart rate, I might feel a little queasy and am left dripping with sweat, but that’s the beauty of this little gem. You can achieve a lot in a short period of time you just have to tackle it head on and full heartedly.

GBC is good at increasing fat loss, increasing muscle mass (when you decrease fat and increase muscle, it results in that common term ‘toning’) and its also good for increasing muscular endurance. I also found it also took my anaerobic fitness to the next level.

Typically for GBC you will use compound movements to maximize muscle recruitment. When you train in this style it creates a lot of latic acid in the muscles which as a result releases more growth hormone. That is the ideal situation to be in for both woman and men when trying to lean out.

There are a few ways it can be programmed but for the purposes of this post I’m going to give an example super-setting an upper and lower body exercise for a full body workout. At first glance a lot of people will have a “That’s it?” look on their face but trust me, if you keep to the tempo, the rest time and use the correct weight and reps, you should have the same response as myself and my clients feel after a session, which is: ‘OOOOOOOOMMMMGGGGGGGGG’

Read the rest of this entry »


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My favorite protein smoothie

Posted by Mark

smoothie

I’ve been making an amazing smoothie recently and figured I would share my simple recipe here. It’s very easy to make and really tastes delicious, here is what you need:

– 2 scoops Whey Protein
– 1 large ripe banana
– 5 pieces of frozen strawberries
– 4 pieces of frozen blackberries
– 8 pieces of frozen blueberries
– a spoonful of honey
– 4 large ice cubes
– 150ml water

Put them all in a blender and blend. The smoothie comes out pretty thick and the quantity is enough for two people although I drink the whole thing myself. For the Whey Protein I use the strawberry flavored VPX SRO Zero Carb Protein which you can find locally at Health Planet. For the frozen fruits you can find them at Sultan Center and they’re pretty economically priced. Finally, you could replace the 150ml water with almond or soy milk but you really don’t need to.


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Vacation Training and Fat loss

Posted by Amy Freeman

pushups

This week I am traveling to the USA for a vacation so I have had to think of some really smart ways to train while I’m away, as a gym won’t always be available. On top of this a lot of my clients are about to travel and have been asking for the best ways to train while they have limited resources. So here you go.

The first thing I usually do is pick exercises that give you the biggest bang for your buck. Meaning, they work the most amount of muscles at once to get the biggest muscular and metabolic response. I also put emphasis on volume training, as it is one of the best ways to train for fat loss and if you have limited time, it will leave you in a pool of sweat.

In terms of most bang for your buck, a bodyweight circuit including squats, push-ups, lunges, mountain climbers, burpees, sit-ups or any other core variation. These could be done with body weight only or moderate additional weight if it’s available.

Here is an example of something I would do for a bodyweight circuit:

A1: squats

A2: alternating lunges

A3: push-ups

A4: burpees (chest to floor or regular)

A5: mountain climbers

A6: core variation

This could be done as a timed circuit e.g. 30-60 seconds per station (depending on ability) with a 60-90 second rest before repeating the cycle 3-5 times.

Another option is to do 15-20 reps per exercise moving through as fast as you can, with a 60-90 second rest before repeating 3-5 times.

In terms of conditioning, this could include running sprints, stair runs or even intervals on any piece of traditional cardio equipment. Short intervals of maximal work are the key and you want to aim for roughly 25-30 minutes.

Here is an example of something I would do for conditioning type work:

Running on a Treadmill, in the park, jump rope, stairs or using any cardio equipment that is available (or Burpees if your brave)

20-30 sec max work with 30 sec rest

Repeat 4 times. Rest 2 min

Do this sequence 6-8 times

So there is one example of what you can do with limited resources and limited time.

I usually alternate between resistance training one day and cardio conditioning the other day this is quick for when you are time poor and gives the metabolism a push in the right direction. With that in mind…

To finish I want to include some nutrition tips for Fat loss when on vacation. Here are some simple things you can implement:

– Drink water 2-3L per day. I have to admit I am a bad water drinker, so to help me get my daily intake I add slices of lime or lemon and it really helps.

– Up the intensity of your workouts. One way is by reducing the weight slightly, increasing the reps and reducing rest. I’ve found this makes a big difference.

– Eat your veges, these are a great detoxifier with all the antioxidants they contain.

– Lastly, when you indulge try not to overeat till you almost burst. Its vacation so of course you want to be able to enjoy yourself, just try to avoid overeating.

Lastly remember you are on vacation so do what you can with the time you have available. Happy Training Kuwait.

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.

References
Trapp, E., Chisholm, D., et al. The Effects of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise Training and Fat Loss and Fasting Insulin Levels of Young Women. International Journal of Obesity. 2008. 32(4), 684-691.

Kosola, J., Ahotupa, M., et al. Good Aerobic or Muscular Fitness Prevents Overweight Men from Elevated Oxidized LDL. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. September 2011. Published Ahead of Print.

Dunham, C., Harms, C. Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training on Pulmonary Function. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2011. Published Ahead of Print

Boutcher, Stephen. High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. Journal of Obesity. 2011. Published Ahead of Print.

[Image Source]


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