Our grandparents had it right

Post 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

Post 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

Post 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’

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My favorite protein smoothie

Post 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

Post 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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Toxicity and Results: Why dieting and exercising in Kuwait just isn’t cutting it

Post by Amy Freeman

plasticbottle

This is something that myself, my clients and I’m sure most people reading this will relate to. You eat well, you exercise at least 3 times per week, sometimes you may even use a trainer, but no matter how hard you train and how clean your diet is, getting those desired results you are working so hard for is so damn hard.

Well for the last 2.5 years I have been in Kuwait, I have noticed something that, at first, baffled me. The first 6 months I was in Kuwait I gained 6kg. I was exercising more than I ever did back in New Zealand and very cautious with my eating habits but no matter what I did I couldn’t shift this weight (and I’m a midget at 5ft3.5 so 6kg is very noticeable)

Then something strange happened. I went on vacation and came back lighter and leaner. Now, I can assure you right now; I wasn’t on vacation eating celery sticks and lettuce leaves that’s for sure. So what happened?

After becoming Bio Signature Practitioner almost 2 years ago, all these questions started to get answered.

After asking my coach on Bio Signature (who has trained Olympic Athletes and has over 20 years experience). He said to me ‘Where do you live?’ I said ‘Kuwait’. He said ‘KUWAIT! Hmmm, I’ve been asked to go do courses in the Middle East and turned them down because of how toxic it is, that’s your culprit right there’.

He then went on to explain to me that with so much toxicity entering the body, the pathways for nutrients and hormones get blocked by toxicity bonds that attach to fat cells which causes stubborn fat, like cellulite, that is hard to break down.

This also result’s in low Testosterone levels and a healthy amount of Testosterone is important for reducing body fat in both female and male and is absolutely imperative for male health and wellbeing.

After hearing this I started to notice things in Kuwait that backed up his claims:

1- I started to notice how many males in Kuwait have female body types. Such as, bigger hips and legs and smaller upper-bodies. Low Testosterone right there.

2- Low Testosterone in men causes a lower sperm count. Men with a lower sperm count are more likely to father girls. There are a significantly larger proportion of Females in Kuwait than Males. Last I was told the ratio of females to males here is 4:1.

3- Most people drink out of plastic bottles, which have Pseudo Estrogens, which act as female hormones when they enter our body.

4- Almost every Bio Signature I have done on men and woman in Kuwait has shown their first priority (highest reading) as their Hamstring (at the top of the back of the leg). The Estrogen Sight of the body.

healtylifestyle

So how can you rectify this?

1- Include weight training in your gym routine, everyone and anyone needs a healthy amount of Testosterone, even the ladies. Low Testosterone=High Body Fat.

2- Drink your water from glass bottles and drink at least 2L per day. Say ‘NO’ to plastic.

3- Eat your greens. Veges have antioxidant’s that help break the bonds of the toxins so you can break down the fat.

4- Take supplements that help your body detoxify. Below is what I suggest and I’ve also included the link from where you can purchase them if you choose.

The Poliquin Supplements in my opinion are the best in the world hands down, I love them, my clients love them and for me that’s a home run. (No I’m not affiliated with them I just love their products)

1- Zinc PX: Zinc is an essential mineral that helps with all functions of the body. It has been said if you are deficient in Zinc you are deficient in everything. Fatloss, healthy immune system, healthy Testosterone levels and detoxification are all assisted by Zinc.

2- Multi Intense (with Iron for woman): essential for us here in Kuwait as our fresh produce is rarely local so lacks nutrients making it impossible for us to get our daily-required vitamins and minerals. More Antioxidants= less Toxins
Multi Intense (without Iron for men)- Same as the above minus the Iron as men usually cover this in their diet and can cause liver damage with too much.

3- Uber Mag Px: Magnesium is similar to Zinc, as it assists with many functions of the human body including detoxification, better quality sleep, stable mood, muscle recovery and growth, healthy Testosterone levels, cardiovascular health and brain function.

4- Fish Oil EPA-DHA 720: Assists in detoxification, the increase in healthy fats helps with counteracting bad fats from fast food (they cause toxicity), helps with brain function and fat loss.

This is a topic that I’m really passionate about because whether or not you have fitness goals, this will impact you in some way and even if you don’t implement all the changes I have mentioned, even implementing 1 or 2 things means you are one step closer to a more healthy, less toxic body.

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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Finding Quinoa

Post by Mark

Since Sultan Center keeps running out of quinoa, here is a tip. You can buy quinoa locally online from natureland.net. They’re never out of stock. [Link]


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My new years resolution

Post by Mark


[YouTube]

I’m going to take part in a Spartan Race. [Link]

Update: Just found out about the Tough Guy competition (video below) which is based in the UK. Here is a exceprt from Wikipedia:

It has been widely described as “the toughest race in the world”, with up to one-third of the starters failing to finish in a typical year.

After 25 stagings of the winter event, Wilson still claimed nobody had ever finished the course according to his extremely demanding rules. The race, and its summer equivalent, has suffered two fatalities during its history.

Tough Guy™ from Mr Mouse on Vimeo.

Sounds like a lot of fun and the UK version of anything is usually more hardcore than the US one (Dirty Sanchez vs Jackass).


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The Running Workshop

Post by Mark

I just took the running workshop at The 3 Club today and I thought it was very informative. The workshop was three hours long and combined theory and physical activity. If you’re a runner or interested in running then this is a workshop I highly recommend taking. There is only one more session left which is for this Friday so if you want to sign up visit this [Link]

Below is the workshop agenda to give you an idea of what it involves.


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How healthy is Pufak?

Post by Mark

According to Eat Like Mira it’s actually not bad at all. It’s baked not fried and the whole bag is just 100 calories. [Link]


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