What is dry January?Once a year (sometimes two, sober October) people across the country ditch the alcohol for one month, now this sounds like a great idea to cleanse the body of toxins and help improve your way of life in many other ways. There is also a flip side to absconding from alcohol for a month. I will endeavour to give an outline one both sides of the argument so that you can make your own educated guess on whether you think it’s a good plan for the start of the year off or if it’s just not worth it.
Sleep patterns –There has been research from Melbourne university stating that people who regularly drank alcohol before going to bed found a reduction in REM sleep, this can affect your memory during the day and long-term memory if you continue that pattern of excessive drinking. It can also impair your motor skills, which play a major role in every day life. REM stage of sleep is when you dream most, if you want to remember your dreams or pride yourself on remembering them, then quitting that night time drink will help to ensure more REM sleep.
Better Skin –Cutting alcohol out of your lifestyle can improve your skin 10-fold, alcohol is a dehydrating force, drinking lowers antioxidant defences which leaves you more open to sun damage and free radicals, which are by-products of chemicals such as cigarette smoke.
More money –This is a no brainer, you will be better off every week if you cut drinking out. The average person spends between £20 - £40 a week on alcohol. Let’s add that up over the month, that’s between £80 to £120 a month and between £960 and £1440 a year. My advice on how to track this, every time you go to buy alcohol don’t and put the money in a jar or separate account and spend it on a nice holiday once a year.
Liver health -Giving up drinking will have a big impact on your liver and should reduce the chances of developing liver disease. Regularly drinking more than 14 units a week for men and women can lead to a fatty liver. The liver turns glucose into fat and sends it around the body to store. Alcohol effects the way the liver can handle fat and if it gets stuffed with fat it can become swollen. If the damage to the liver continues regularly this can affect your appetite, a blood test can show the health of your liver. If your liver is not to damaged it can recover with in 4 to 6 weeks of no alcohol.
It might not be the right time –Life can throw many things at you which can cause stress and increasing these stress levels by not drinking can be detrimental. If also one of your resolutions is to regularly hit the gym 3 times a week this will also help you regulate your alcohol intake, ensuring you do not drink to excess.
The time of year –People tend to drink more in the summer month due to the weather and the draw of beer gardens and pubs, if you want to make a difference why not choose one of these months to give your liver a break.
Alcohol is good for your heart –Now this is true if you’re not knocking back a bottle of vodka a night, drinking in moderation can reduce your chances of heart attacks by 24% according to a global study last year. You can see the running theme here is alcohol in moderation.
Champagne can help short term memory –Yes, I know, your scratching your head now wondering if this is true, yes, a study by the university of Columbia recently demonstrated that champagne contains proteins that are beneficial for short term memory.
Winston Churchill –Churchill one of the greatest Britons never did dry January, he was quoted to saying, “I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me” Winston lived until 90 years old.
by Jeremy Allen, Master Trainer/General Manager/Influencer
For more information on how to control your alcohol consumption this year contact me on Jeremy@bodyworkswest.co.uk
Not a question that you were expecting I would imagine?!This may seem like a totally unrelated subject but in this article I aim to give a small but vital insight into this subject; specifically when considering the optimal conditioning for winter sports. To begin with it is paramount to understand two things;
- The first is that whenever an organ experiences inflammation or pain there is a reflex inhibition of an associated muscle due to innervation by the same nerve.
- The second point leads on from the first in that the human body is a system of interlinked systems and to treat organs, joints and muscles in isolation misses a vital point, meaning that we won't get to the root cause of dysfunction and injury.
"What's the big deal and what has this to do with my knee"You may ask. Well here's the problem for the skier. Another very important function of the hamstring is to assist in the integrity of the knee joint at the distal end due to the fact that the hamstrings cross the knee and attach to the Tibia and Fibula; having the mechanical effect of pulling the Femur and the Tibia and Fibula together. When the hamstring is over working to stabilise the pelvis the whole muscle becomes fatigued leaving the knee joint relatively unstable. This is where the cruciate ligament finally comes into play. When the hamstrings have become fatigued the cruciate ligament now has very little help in its role to stabilise the knee. So picture the end of your day on the slopes; you've been on your skis all day, you're tired, the snow is rough and rutted; you hit a rut, catch an edge or have a collision with another skier and an anterior sheer force is placed upon your knee; your overly working and fatigued hamstrings don't fire as quickly or effectively as they should and suddenly BANG you feel an intense pain in your knee; the next thing you know you're being airlifted off the mountain! The sad end to this tragic tale is that your poor cruciate ligament couldn't cope with the extra strain it had to deal with as its synergistic hamstrings become too fatigued to do their job.
Many people never recover fully from this type of injuryAs they receive suboptimal rehabilitation, and they may never ski again. I feel that's a huge sacrifice to make when we consider that small dietary changes could make all the difference to the function of the Transversus Abdominus; the primary muscle in this chain of events. So let's go back to the inflammation in the gut, which is the underlying cause of this injury. Put simply, when we are regularly consuming foods that we have an inability to digest properly, this creates constant inflammation in the intestines due to the secretory (IgA) antibodies in the mucus membranes being triggered to attack these undigested food particles. This sets up a battle ground in the intestines, which, given time, can lead to leaky gut syndrome, causing an even more serious, chronic immune response, which we needn't go into here. Two of the main culprits, in most modern diets, are gluten and diary, both of which the adult human body was never really designed to digest.
Think about your diet and ask yourself how often you're consuming foods containing gluten and diary?Is it everyday? For many it is nearly every meal! That croissant and cappuccino for breakfast; that sandwich for lunch; that cereal based "energy" bar, with a cup of tea (with milk), in the afternoon, and that pasta dish for dinner, with a nice bowl of ice cream for desert. If this is the case then you will almost certainly be creating constant inflammation in your intestines and the subsequent chain of events, mentioned previously, will be quietly waiting for that rut, edge catch or collision! When we consider food intolerance, let me ask you this, do you suffer with that troublesome "paunch" belly that won't go away no matter how many crunches you do? Do you often feel bloated after eating? Do you suffer with trapped wind or digestive discomfort? If so the chances are this is your body sending you a message that I really hope you're listening to! Many times my clients have cut out dairy and gluten in order to activate that vital Transversus Abdominus in the clinical environment, and on the slopes.
SuggestionsI suggest try cutting out gluten and dairy for 3 weeks and see if you notice any differences. You may be surprised at an improvement in your energy levels, digestion and body composition in this short time, let alone the function of your vital stabilisation system. After 3 weeks you can then reintroduce gluten and dairy one at a time and see if you notice any difference. If you do then you are seeing the results of a food intolerance at work and you may wish to cut out that foodstuff on a more regular basis. So, see if you notice any differences in how you feel. If you do, you can be confident that your body has the potential to function more effectively and keep you safe when you're enjoying those precious days on the slopes.
By Mark Zawadski - Chek practitioner @ BodyWorksWest for more information on injury prevention contact Mark.email@example.com
It is a common misconception that coconut oil is bad for you. People all over the world are experiencing the healthy benefits of using coconut oil. It is actually one of the healthiest oils you can consume. Here are the top seven reasons why you should use coconut oil as an alternative to other common cooking oils.
1. Coconut oil doesn't turn to fat in your body.Unlike many other common oils, like soy (vegetable) and corn, coconut oil won't make you fat. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which are an easy fuel for the body to burn, without turning to fat. Most other cooking oils and fats contain long-chain triglycerides (LCT). LCT's are usually stored as fat. Since coconut oil is a MCT, it is more easily absorbed and converted to energy quicker. People in the tropics have relied on coconuts as a traditional staple in their diet for centuries. They consume large amounts of coconut oil every day. Instead of getting fatter, it helps them stay healthy, lean and trim. When they switch from coconut oil to our modern oils, they develop obesity and the health problems that our modern society faces. Some other people who have known this truth for a long time are people who are in the animal feed business. When livestock are fed vegetable oils, they put on weight and produce more fatty meat. When they are fed coconut oil, they become very lean.
2. Coconut oil increases your metabolism.Not only does coconut oil convert to energy quicker in your body, it increases your metabolism, which promotes weight loss. Because it boosts your metabolism, it helps your body burn fat more effectively. Coconut oil may triple your calorie burn. Since coconut oil is a MCT, it is converted to energy so quickly that it creates a lot of heat. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, MCT's burn three times more calories for six hours after a meal than LCT's. The February 15, 2005 issue of Woman's World magazine stated that coconut oil is the "underground high-metabolism secret." This is great news for people who have thyroid problems, since coconut oil improves sluggish thyroids by stimulating the production of extra thyroid hormones. Most other common oils, like vegetable (soy) and corn have been shown to inhibit thyroid function.
3. Coconut oil has omega 3 fatty acids.Most cooking oils contain omega 6 fatty acids, something we get way too much of in the United States. Our omega 6 to omega 3 ratio should be 1:1 but it is more like 50:1. We need to drastically cut back our omega 6 oils and consume much more omega 3 oils to be healthy. And coconut oil is filled with these healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
4. Coconut oil gives you energy.Because of the healthy omega 3 fatty acids and the fact that it increases the metabolism, most people that switch to coconut oil feel a burst of added energy in their daily life. This is because coconut oil is nature’s richest source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT's), which increase metabolic rates and lead to weight loss. MCT's promote thermogenesis, which increases the body's metabolism, producing energy. This is because coconut oil is nature’s richest source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT's), which increase metabolic rates and lead to weight loss. MCT's promote thermogenesis, which increases the body's metabolism, producing energy. Many people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia have found that adding coconut and coconut oil to their diet was helpful to them.
5. One of the best things you can use on your skin and hair is coconut oil.Coconut oil one of the best things you can apply directly on your skin and hair. It gives temporary relief to skin problems like rashes. It aids in healing and restoring skin to a younger appearance. It has also been known to help with people who suffer from yeast infections in the skin, as well as many other skin problems. Not only does is soften and smooth your skin, coconut oil has antioxidant properties that protect the skin from free radical damage. Coconut oil makes excellent massage oil too.
6. Coconut oil has healthy benefits that most other oils do not.Evidence is mounting that coconut oil has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antiviral effects when both consumed and used topically on the skin. Most oils oxidize and turn rancid very quickly causing free radical damage in our bodies. Coconut oil is not easily oxidized and does not cause harmful free radical damage like polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Free radical damage is thought to be responsible for many ailments in our body from arthritis to increased susceptibility to cancers. Coconut oil also helps our bodies absorb other nutrients more effectively, such as Vitamin E.
7. Coconut oil is one of the best oils you can use for cooking.It has a higher smoke point than olive oil, which means it can take higher temperatures better. There are several healthy omega 3 oils we can choose to consume, such as flax and olive oil, but they don't do well under the high heat we use for cooking. Coconut oil can be used in higher cooking temperatures. It is harder for coconut oil to go rancid, unlike other cooking oils, which are usually rancid long before you even bring them home. Rancid oils cause free radical damage in the body, which is a leading cause of cancer. Coconut oil is stable for over a year at room temperature. Because of the misinformation we have been given for years, we have lost out on the healthy benefits that coconut oil has given the people of the tropics for centuries. But now it has been rediscovered! Coconut oil is so effective, it won't be long before we see coconut oil supplements promoted, but you can get the jump on the popular crowd and start consuming and cooking with coconut oil today!
First off, I want to mention that, for most people, getting six pack abs is not an easy task. It requires dedication, but it is possible! Below is a general 2-step guide that, if followed religiously for 3 months, will produce results.
Step 1: NutritionThis is the single most important part of the puzzle, hands down. You can have the most impressive set of abs, but if they're covered with a layer of fat, you won't see them! Break up your day with 5 or 6 mini-meals because this jump starts your metabolism. And stop eating the food that is preventing results: white bread, loads of pasta, soda, candy, fast food, hydrogenated oils, sugars and fructose corn syrup.\n\nInstead, replace them with foods that will help you reach your goal: oatmeal, olive oil, whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, natural peanut butter, chicken, fish, protein and water. Be realistic- you'll slip here and there, but make a conscious effort to radically improve your eating habits because getting a six pack will be impossible if you don't.\n\nIncluded in every BodyWorksWest Membership is a monthly session with a fitness professional which consists of a Boditrax consultation (a medical grade body composition scale) to hold you accountable and track your progress. This is the single most important part of the puzzle, hands down. You can have the most impressive set of abs, but if they're covered with a layer of fat, you won't see them! Break up your day with 5 or 6 mini-meals because this jump starts your metabolism. And stop eating the food that is preventing results: white bread, loads of pasta, soda, candy, fast food, hydrogenated oils, sugars and fructose corn syrup. Instead, replace them with foods that will help you reach your goal: oatmeal, olive oil, whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, natural peanut butter, chicken, fish, protein and water. Be realistic- you'll slip here and there, but make a conscious effort to radically improve your eating habits because getting a six pack will be impossible if you don't. Included in every BodyWorksWest Membership is a monthly session with a fitness professional which consists of a Boditrax consultation (a medical grade body composition scale) to hold you accountable and track your progress.
Step 2: ExerciseYou need to concern yourself with 3 different exercises: cardio, weight lifting and ab exercises. And aim to workout 3- 4 times a week. The cardio you do can be anything: walking, running, biking, swimming.... whichever cardio you don't mind doing so that you'll stick with it. Aim for 30-45 minutes, a minimum of 2 times a week. Weightlifting is important because 3 pounds of added muscle burns as many calories as a 1-mile jog...and this is while you're just sitting around! Aim for 30-45 minutes, a minimum of 2 times a week. If you're confused as to what exercises to do for each body part the BodyWorksWest fitness professionals have extensive knowledge and will happily share their top tips. The last exercise you need to incorporate into your workout is ab exercises. Aim to work your abs a minimum of 3 times a week. There are a ton of different ab exercises you can do so try to find 3 or so that you enjoy doing so you can mix it up. A good database of different ab exercises is: https://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/finder/lookup/filter/muscle/id/13/muscle/abdominals Tip: mix up your workout routine every 2 weeks to keep your body guessing and changing. Add or take away different weight or ab exercises, or at the very least, vary the weight, reps or form of cardio you do. Well, there you have it. Follow the above for 3 months religiously, and while results will vary from person to person, you will experience improvement. It will take dedication on your part, but imagine the feeling you'll get when you look in the mirror and like what you see.
If you’re feeling sluggish after a long winter, March is the perfect month to overhaul your diet and lifestyle and put the spring back in your step. If you’re ready to make some changes, be sure to maximise your efforts by avoiding the most common dieting mistakes. Here are three key areas to focus on if you want to stay in great shape.
- Don’t Skip Meals
- Manage Your Portions Carefully
- Watch out for hidden sugar
There are times on your weight loss journey when progress can come to a halt. Days or weeks can go by without you seeing movement on the scale, and it can get downright frustrating. After working with thousands of clients, I’ve noticed certain patterns that can cause this weight loss stoppage. Here are 3 of those patterns.