Liquid weight loss

22 Jan

According to the NHS obesity reduces the average life expectancy by two years! Now I’d quite like to live two extra years, so I went looking for easy ways to help shift the pounds. While there are a lot of well known pieces of advice (some of which you will find here), I wanted to concentrate on the do-able and quickly realised there was a whole sub-section of advice on liquids that can help weight loss. Here’s what I found.

Milk

As a kid I loved drinking milk, now I was not a small child, so I ditched glasses of milk to help get my weight down and as I started working out at the gym, took to drinking sports drinks. It would appear that I was completely off the mark! Researchers at McMaster University found that subjects who downed 600ml of skimmed milk after a weights session lost nearly twice as much fat as those refuelling with a sports drink. So while I can’t take milk to the gym, I can at least have a glass after a home workout.

Hot milk can also help you sleep due to its high calcium content, as well as tryptophan, which the body turns into serotonin that can make you drowsy.

This is important to weight loss because sleep regulates hormones in your body that influence hunger according to WebMD

Michael Breus, PhD, a faculty member of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and director of The Sleep Disorders Centers of Southeastern LungCare in Atlanta explained to WebMD; “Leptin and ghrelin are both horemones that work in a kind of “checks and balances” system to control feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite, while leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a signal to thebrain when you are full.

So what’s the connection to sleep? “When you don’t get enough sleep, it drives leptin levels down, which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food.”

Green Tea

The thermogenic properties of this drink have come into question, with research from Switzerland showing an average 24 hour increase in metabolism of 79 calories. However a) every little counts and b) it certainly beats tea with milk and two sugars, which is around 40 cals per mug!

Water

Dhydration is often mistaken for hunger, so we end up eating when all we really need is a drink. According to GoodToKnow water is also useful in the breakdown of fat cells, which harden up when we are dehydrated. So if you are dieting or working out remember to drink lots of water.

Protein shakes

I‘ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with protein shakes. At first I consumed these regularly to help build muscle, however, I’m no professional athlete and I soon began to put on fat. With this in mind I stopped using the shakes and have lost some weight at the expense of building muscle.

According to the Marquette General Health System, we need muscle to burn fat and the more muscle we are able to maintain the more calories we burn as muscle is active and needs energy to function. it is even better at burning calories when you aren’t doing anything.

So what’s the compromise? Well it’s not really a compromise, more of a decision. Though it’s a bit expensive for me, I’ve decided to spend that little bit extra and buy a low-calorie protein shake. The one I have chosen is MaxiMuscle Promax Diet. It’s not the best tasting (or by far the worst either), but then that’s not really important. Having bought a few protein shakes in my time, I’d say a good rule of thumb is, if you enjoy drinking it, it’s probably not that good for you!

Tabasco sauce

According to Live Strong, this spicy sauce has no calorific value, making it perfect for giving flavour to less exciting low-calorie foods. I love the stuff, so this is very easy to implement. What’s more the capsaicin from the pepper has thermogenic properties, so it helps to speed up your metabolism, even if it’s by a small amount, it’s better than nothing!

The only concern to have is that Tabasco sauce has a high amount of sodium, which in excessive use can have serious health implications over time and will cause water retention.

So that’s it for my quest for weight loss liquids. I hope it’s helpful.

Ni

//
//

Weird Dream or Excellent Medical Drama/Comedy

20 Dec

 

Ok so this post isn’t strictly about health, but I really did have to share this.

So I had a dream last night of the best trash, low-budget medical comedy ever! If this was made into a series it would make scrubs look like ER.

The dream opened with myself in first person walking through a hospital. I was a doctor and was discussing a patient with a female colleague. We come across a stand selling cream pies and a woman had dropped hers and was complaining that they had added cinnamon that she hadn’t asked for.

We then find out that there is a strange form of diabetes running through the women and children in the hospital that leaves them all hairless. At this point it’s not that wide-spread, but it is affecting more people by the minute.

The problem escalates and we have to use quarantine facilities while we work out what’s going on. While talking to a male colleague I notice one of the nurses has dropped here cream pie too.

The conversation continues throughout the day, a woman drops a cream pie in the lift and we have to walk to an emergency meeting to figure out what’s going on with this bizarre new strain of diabetes. We also pass the fist male colleague to get the disease, he is the only man to get it.

During the meeting the view goes to 3rd person and there’s a cliché flashback to the women dropping pies as we realise that someone is poisoning them.

The theory is that the poison from the pies is affecting anyone who hasn’t gone through male puberty.

We all go to confront the pie merchants, but only the women make it as the men go crazy and try to stop them. The poison it seems evokes a strong aversion to having children to the point that the men go insane.

We then cut to one woman played by Miracle Laurie  (yes that’s her name) who is confronted by head doctor Dan Akyroyd, who tries to kill Miracle using a bazooka. Cue ridiculous cliché explosions and diving around.

Sadly I woke up then, but with some comedy banter thrown in I think it would be an amazing show – if a little niche…

Anyway this wasn’t really health related at all, but I hope you enjoyed it!!

Fitness – It’s all in the game

14 Dec

My avatar

Having spent weeks playing Gears of War 3 on the Xbox I thought I would look into the world of exercise gaming.

While Nintendo lead the way with this type of gaming with their Wii Fit, Playstation and Xbox have now caught up offering their own get-fit-at-home games. I would even argue that Xbox has gone one better with their Kinect, which leaves your hands free from controllers so that you can use apparatus during the game.

Having seen EA Active 2 on Xbox being sold for just £10 (bargain), I decided to give it a go.  Luckily I already had a Kinect, but if you don’t, you’ll need one.

It’s simple enough to set up and by using the Kinect sensor you get a pretty realistic avatar straight off, so no faffing around trying to find the right pair of eyes, hair or nose. Although its a little creepy. At first, I got the niggling feeling that ‘the Matrix starts here…’, but don’t let my over active imagination put you off.

Once you have your avatar in place you have to enter in a lot of data, which takes a bit of time, but that’s only the set up, so do it once and then let the Xbox work its magic. The only thing I would say about this part is that it could be a little more constructive. Having updated that I hadn’t eaten any healthy food or done any exercise the day before, I was told that I was making good lifestyle choices. As it only took the day before into consideration, I would have to disagree.

Once I was set up I picked my personal trainer. There are two options, cardio and tone or flexibility (yoga, pilates, etc). I went for cardio and tone and picked the hardest setting, which I came to regret once I’d started…

Before I did start however, I had to put in my work out routine for my programme, with a minimum of three days a week – so no slacking there. There are also options on where you want to work e.g. Legs, abs, etc and for how long.

Now there are a couple of pieces of apparatus you need to use when you start, the first is the heart rate monitor (impressive, I know) and the second is a resistance band. The former is easy to set up and pretty high tech, the latter is not… I would suggest going back to the menu screen and opting to use dumbells if you have them.

The exercises were all very simple and explained well. While the majority are done in a one on one format with your personal trainer, there are also foot and bike races against computer adversaries. The bike races are quite fun as they combine running on the spot to go up hill, with squats to gain speed going down hill. You can also perform tricks by jumping at the right moment when hitting a ramp. All of which is a nice distraction from the effort you are putting in.

I really threw myself into it, so after a 45 minute workout I was worn out completely and have to admit still ached 2 days later, having worked little used muscles, especially in my calves.

On first impressions I rate this game, if you think you can stick to scheduled work outs, get involved as I’m sure you’ll see results. Its also great for supplementing the gym as you can log activity done outside of the game so it really does cover all bases.

Now all I have to do is see how the game progresses and how well it tracks progress.

Mo Long Movember

4 Dec

Team Hackney Mo’s has reached £600! Thanks again so much to all those who have donated. Sadly all good things have to end and I have now shaved off the Mo.

I’ll be tweeting soon as to why I shaved it off, in my next blog on testing the EA Active 2 game on the XBox Kinect

Here’s a pic of me without a mo.

Ni

20111204-185021.jpg

Movember – the result!

30 Nov

Moustache season is nearly over and after 30 days of growing my mo and suffering the consequences, I can now announce that I have raised…

£255!!!

My team, The Hackney Mo’s have raised a total of £520.

All the money raised during Movember goes to help combat protate and other men’s cancers. What’s more you can still donate here http://mobro.co/TheEndIsNi

Here’s a picture of me pulling my best moustache face (it’s slightly picasso-esque)

Ni

 

Movember – 11 days in

11 Nov

 

IT’S already 11 days into Movember, the month in which men around the world grow moustaches to raise money and awareness of prostate cancer and other mens health issues.

Havinging lost my dad to cancer at the end of November last year, I decided to take on the challenge of growing a ‘Mo’, as they call it, to help the effort.

Finding out that my dad had cancer was a shock, though not all together suprising as he had smoked and drank for the majority of his life. However watching the man who brought me up slowly disappear into himself and lose all his ability was tough to say the least and the effect it had on my mother was hard. While as a family we are coping with his loss, it’s not something I would wish on anyone else, so while my efforts may not stop cancer, at least they’re helping in some way.

OK harrowing bit over. So from my usual babyfaced looks, I have managed to transorm into a moustacheod man (I know that isn’t a word… is it?) and have already raised nearly £150 in donations, thanks to a lot of kind people, including a massive £100 donation from @Clarioncomms.

I'm unconvinced on my Mo and have never before realised quite how big my nose is... i't's massive

While I haven’t inherited my dad’s ability to wear and suit a moustache, I am determined to keep it growing until the end of November. Who knows I may even come to like it.

If you are kind and able enough to make a donation, or even if you just want to keep up on my progress and poke fun, please visit my Mo Space here: http://mobro.co/TheEndIsNi

You’ll also be able to see the efforts of the rest of the 34 Kelshall Court Mo Bros as the whole flat is in on the team!

Every little helps and it will all be very much appreciated and don’t forget we’re looking to get mo’ money for no problems.

 

A new start

9 Oct

After a week from hell, in which I worked 40 hours by the end of Wednesday, I am ready to get back to the gym and a routine in which I can work out at least 3 times a week.

So I’m now aiming to spend the next six weeks completing a proper work out regime. To see how well I’ve done afterwards I’ll be comparing various measurements before and after the training period. These are listed below, along with my current readings. At the moment these are fairly average for my height (174cm or 5’8”).

 

MEASUREMENTS

Weight: 72.8 kg

Fat: 19.2%

Skeletal muscle: 40.5%

BMI: 24

My workout routine, as suggested by my gym instructor at LA Fitness, includes 20 minutes of aerobic work, 4 pin-loaded resistance and 4 free weight resistance exercises and core work. It’s also been suggested that I sporadically take a few classes, including spinning, to mix up my workout.

 

THE WORKOUT

WARM UP

Rower for 5 minutes

 

AEROBICS – any 2 of the following

Treadmill – 10 minutes

X-trainer – 10 minutes

Rower – 10 minutes

 

PIN LOADED EXERCISES – any 4 of the following at 3 sets of 10 reps on a challenging weight, making sure to mix upper and lower body exercises

Lat pulldown

Leg press

Leg curl

Shoulder press

Tricep pushdown

Chest press

 

FREE WEIGHT EXERCISES – as above, with the exception of 21s

Dumbell bench press

Flat flyes

Walking lunges

Lateral raise

Bicep curl

21s

 

CORE EXERCISES – I’ll be trying to fit this in around 5 times a week

Crunches – 4 sets of 20 reps

Plank – 4 sets of 30 seconds

Side bridge – 3 sets of 30 seconds on each side

cradles – 3 sets of 30 seconds

 

COOL DOWN

Recline bike – 5 minutes on no weight

 

To help me along I will also be taking creatine and protein supplements, with the aim of losing fat and increasing muscle mass, but that’s for another blog.

 

Wish me luck and I’ll let you know how I get on!

 

Ni the supplementer

Creatine: the VERY basics

23 Sep

The creatine molecule

So I’ve been going to the gym for years now and taking protein shakes. I’ve seen creatine on the shelves of health shops like Holland & Barratt and GNC, but never really looked into what it does, or what it is used for.

So after a little research, here is what I know.

Creatine is an amino acid which helps build muscle and is used to power high intensity muscle contractions. It’s widely taken as a supplement in the form of powders and capsules, but it is also present in red meats and produced by the body’s major organs.

In practical terms creatine helps you push heavier weights and complete more reps, thus building muscle mass. It also helps you complete intense aerobic exercises, such as sprinting, rowing and cycling.

Depending on the brand and type of creatine you take, dosages will vary. However it’s important not to go over the RDA, as creatine can put stress on the kidneys and as such people with medical conditions that could be effected by this should consult their doctor before using the creatine.

Once you’ve decided to take creatine it’s important to look at any other sports nutrition supplements you take, to ensure they don’t contain any creatine as this will count toward your RDA.

There are a few different types of creatine, with the most common being creatine monohydrate.  For more information on the different types of creatine and their benefits visit Best Creatine Supplement Review.

For now I’m going to continue to discuss creatine monohydrate as this is the most commonly available and seems to be the entry level form of creatine supplement from my review of supplement forums. There are two phases to taking creatine monohydrate, the loading phase, which is followed by the maintainance phase. The first phase consists of taking creatine up to four times a day to saturate your muscles. In the second phase you simply top up your creatine levels with 1 -2 scoops a day. Though you should always read the directions on the label as different products will vary. Bodybuilding.com has more information on creatine loading by body weight.

Always remember to stay hydrated as creatine will direct water away from major organs and into muscles. If taken without water, creatine use can lead to stomach cramps. A good rule of thumb is to drink a pint of water with each dose.

Hope this helps,

Good luck and good health,

Ni, the Supplementer

The beginning of a new workout

21 Sep

Having put it off for far too long, I am finally getting a review of my workout routine at my LA Fitness in Holborn. I’m hoping that this will help restart my motivation and give me a new set of goals to focus on.

 

Up until now I have been doing chest presses, shoulder presses, weighted row, pull ups, leg presses and some rather lack lustre abs training, followed up by twenty minutes of cardio if I’m really up for it.

 

It really is time to upgrade my fitness and really get back to my former glory. With this in mind I will be working back up to hitting the gym a minimum of 3 times a week and hope to be in full swing by October, when I can really kick it up a notch and concentrate on building muscle, losing fat, thus getting stronger and faster.

 

Wish me luck,

 

Ni, the Supplementer

New workout song – Time by Chase & Status ft Delilah

19 Sep

Here’s the latest song on my workou7t playlist, Time by Chase & Status ft Delilah. While it’s not new, it is still very good, well in fact the whole Chase Status album is pretty serious. Up tempo and perfect for getting you fired up to push harder and run further.

Just forget about midnight caller – seriously. I believe it’s Claire Maguire on track, who I like, but this song is so far out of place on the album, just skip it and save your time.

Here’s the video, check it out.

Hope you like it,

Ni, the Supplementer