IF you’re having a lie-down in a darkened room you won’t need me to tell you how awful stress can feel. Trouble is, when we’re stressed our bodies are less resistant to infection. So it’s important to keep calm and carry on. If you drink more than two cups of tea or coffee a day then you might be giving yourself more stimulation than you need.
Caffeine is a stimulant which can increase your heart rate and raise your body temperature. In small amounts it’s not damaging but gulp down too much and it could have serious long-term results.
Caffeine is also a diuretic, which means it increases your visits to the loo, and it also causes a rise in blood sugar levels which can be harmful.
Switch to decaff drinks and you might notice quite a difference. You’ll keep warmer too on decaf because caffeine dilates the blood vessels, making you lose heat more readily from your body.
We often get that feeling of pride, of self-satisfaction when we’ve had a good workout at the gym! We’ve powered away on the cross trainer,the bike, the treadmill – we truly deserve that nice big dinner afterwards, don’t we?
Well, the fact is that all too often we’re doing the wrong things when we want to lose weight – many of us are falling into traps which are holding back our fat loss!
One problem is that we do often compensate for the gym session with a bigger meal afterwards, vigorous exercise can make us feel very hungry; weight training can be particularly bad for this, but running or cycling can often help suppress hunger for a time after a workout.
Another common mistake is eating too soon before a workout, the body just can’t burn off fat effectively if there is new food working its way through your body, if you want to burn off what is already there then you need to fast before a workout.
For this reason, it is usually best to exercise first thing in the morning; or several hours after you last ate; not eating before exercising primes your body to the habit of using your body fat, rather than carbs and sugar for fuel.
Another easy mistake to make is that energy bars and drinks are good for us – unless you’re planning on doing a Mo Farah and running 10k that day, then avoid these!
These snacks and drinks are packed full of sugar for energy, for those who are going to be doing intense activity and exercise for 90 minutes or more – for most of us they’re just unnecessary.
If you do need a bit of energy, then have a bowl of porridge made with water; and if you need something to drink at the gym, water or squash with a tiny pinch of salt is best for shorter workouts.
Also, make sure you’re doing the right sort of exercise; it will take a long time to burn off the KGs on a cross-trainer or by doing a steady pace on the treadmill;
instead aim for short 30-60 second bursts of sprinting for the most effective fat loss! Remember, it is not just exercise which is required if you want to lose weight…