Lessons from Another Year….

As we approach the end of 2010 here is a list of a few of the main things I learnt this year in regards to health and fitness……….

1- Carbohydrates and Insulin are not the enemy

About a year ago I started to come to my senses and see that certain things about carbohydrates are not true. Following certain advice we are lead to believe that all carbohydrates apart from some fruit are damaging to the body due the insulin released when we consume carbohydrates. This is detrimental as it puts us in a ‘restrictive‘ mindset and makes certain food the enemy not only this but it is simply not true.

If we have a healthy metabolism and good insulin sensitivity, Insulin can be a beautiful thing – It cuts appetite, Stimulates the metabolism, encourages muscle growth, and is rebuilding in general for the body (including repairing glands and organs). We can easily forget insulin is a building hormone, not a fat storage hormone. We are always breaking down our bodies through stress so it needs to be rebuilt.

Sure insulin should not go too high, but that doesn’t mean we have to limit our carbohydrate intake. Rather pick better carbs and build an ability to deal with them effectively via a healthy metabolism and blood sugar regulation.

There is a lot more the figure out about eating for improved health and one thing that seems certain is that unrefined carbohydrates do not cause bad health. As for refined carbohydrates that is another matter……

2- Bodyweight Intervals are Amazing

I regularly train people who just want to get into better shape, from this it is easy to see that bodyweight or ‘light’ resistance weight is the best way for the average person to train. Firstly because most people have not mastered their bodyweight, so it doesn’t make sense to move onto heavy weights. Secondly bodyweight movements keep joints healthy and work the whole body in fluid movements providing the greatest metabolic boost.

The Art of Bodyweight Training

Building Muscle with Bodyweight

Combine this with interval training and workouts are not only effective but they are fun and quick. The body is rarely overworked and leaves feeling refreshed and energised rather than destroyed, bodyweight is regulated and fat is usually lost when people start bodyweight intervals. Bodyweight training can also build pretty impressive amounts of muscle mass, things like Dips, Pull-ups and Squats when done correctly with progression can trigger big muscle growth.

3- Vitamin C really does work

I wrote a post on Vitamin C a while back, it points out how many areas it can help the body. This year I have had countless people tell me that when they up their intake of Vitamin C rich food or take a good quality supplement they see a variety of ailments disappear – Things like Fatigue, dry skin, bruising easily, regular colds and flu’s all seem to disappear. It is amazing how powerful Vitamin C can be to for adrenal health, and the circulatory system. Up your intake of: Kiwi’s, Oranges, Satsumas, Berries, Peppers, Onion, and Green Leafy Vegetables. Also make sure these are eaten raw and fresh as processing and heat can deplete the vitamin content.

Take home lesson  Always keep vitamin C rich Fruit and Veg at home as well as a good quality vitamin C supplement.

4- The Significance of Relaxation

Taking time to switch off a few times a week is essential, whatever that maybe for you – some like to watch a movie, read a book, or relax in a hot bath tub. Others meditate or practice relaxation techniques. Whatever makes you relax is worth taking the time out for.

Simple Ways to Reduce Stress

Cortisol (our stress hormone) can wreak havoc on your health. Having too much flowing round the body affects sleep, encourages weight gain and generally makes us feel terrible. Reducing cortisol through relaxation can have so many benefits.

It will improve your mood, energy levels, and most importantly general wellbeing. It sounds selfish but always put your relaxation first as we can only be of benefit to others when in a good state, no one wants to be around tense and overstressed people.

5- Joint Mobility is Amazing

Sadly I only discovered joint mobility a few months ago but is has been one of the most significant things of the year. My joints are less creaky, plus I feel looser and more flexible. Plus it is something that will carry good heath into old age.

The importance of Joint Mobility

Check out my post on Joint mobility above for more information. It is something anyone interested in their health and fitness should integrate into their workouts or as a refreshing start to the day.

If there are any health and fitness lessons you have learnt in the last few years please share….


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