Wonder Woman Fitness

Archive for July 2011

The Carbohydrate debate

 

Good carbsbad carbs

Much debate has been documented and reported that carbs are bad for you, carbs make you put on weight.  Confused?  Well let me explain a little bit.  In this blog I will explain the good sides and the bad sides to carbs and why some are important to your diet.  So if you are confused about whether carbs are good or bad for you then read on……

 First things first some carbs are not bad for you!!!  However choosing the right kinds of carbs is very important for health, wellness and even weight loss.  So heres the science, the human body uses carbs most efficiently for energy production (as opposed to fats and proteins).  So there really isn’t any reason to avoid carbs but there is a big difference between the normal, wholesome good carbs we are designed to eat and the unnatural (although tasty) highly processed refined carbs.  These bad carbs are contributing to a health crisis in the forms of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancers.

 Choosing good carbs is the key to looking and feeling your best, simply put if your diet is based around healthy, natural carbs rather than the unhealthy processed carbs – you will feel the benefit.

 Please remember that carbs give you energy and provide many of the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health, see the right ones are good for you.

 Good carbs are unprocessed carbohydrates in their ‘natural state’ or very close to their natural state.  In other words they have been minimally altered by man or machine i.e. not out of a packet more like out of the ground.  Pretty much all ‘leafy’ green vegetables and fruit are good carbs.  Beans and legumes, nuts and seeds are also included in the good carb category.  Finally wholegrain cereals including wholegrain breads and pastas are also ‘good’ carbs in moderation.  These types of carbs provide a slower and more sustained release of energy than bad carbs and in their natural form they contribute to long-term health gains, appetite control and sustained energy levels.

 Reason you should be eating good carbs:

  • High in fibre – helps you stay fuller for longer
  • Low GI: low glycemic index which stabilizes blood sugar levels and insulin
  • High in nutrients
  • Low ‘energy-density’: which provides sustained energy, promotes healthy weight loss and long-term weight management

 To sum up what good carbs are, have a look at this list below (picture 1 at the top of the blog):

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Fruit (try to not consume to much though as they contain a lot of natural sugar)
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole cereals, breads, cereals, flour, pasta and rice
  • Oats
  • Root vegetables

 Ok so onto the bad (boo!!!!) carbs.  These are refined processed carbohydrates that have all or most of their natural nutrients and fibre removed in order to make them more consumer friendly.  Most baked goods, white breads, white pastas, snack foods, sweets and soft drinks fit into this category.  Bleached, enriched white flour and white sugar are the most common ingredients used to make bad carbs.

 These carbs are harmful mainly because the human body is not able to process them very well.  Most of the processed carbs we eat wreak havoc on our natural hormone levels.  Insulin production is thrown out of sync as the body attempts to process the huge amounts of starches and simple sugars contained in a bad-carb based meal (i.e. white pastas, white bread etc).  This leads to dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar levels – a big reason you feel tired after eating these bad carb meals.

 Examples of bad carbs and sugary (simply carb) bad foods (picture 2 at the top of the blog):

  • Biscuits, pastries and cakes
  • Pizzas
  • Sugary processed breakfast cereals
  • White bread, flour, pasta, rice
  • Chocolate
  • Honey and jams
  • Jellies
  • Brown and white sugar
  • Soft drinks
  • Sweets and snack bars

 So if you believe that good carbs make you fat please read on.  Obviously bad carbs will make you fat especially in the form of sweets and chocolate but good carbs gram for gram contain less calories than fat, protein and alcohol.  Please remember that eating too much of any food will lead to weight gain, regardless of what food you get your energy from.  Also keep active.  If you are aiming to lose weight then by all means swap your bad carbs for good carbs but hit the gym, get yourself active in the outdoors as this will speed up the weight loss process and increase your energy levels, fitness levels and confidence.

Tips for healthy eating:

  • Your daily diet should be a balance of good carbs and protein
  • Base each of your meals on a complex carb such as potato, sweet potato, wholemeal bread or pasta and include vegetables.  Ensure your protein is lean also
  • Use high fibre wholegrain cereals as part of your breakfast or wholemeal bread for your toast
  • Large carb meals will make you sleepy and slow so save a big carb meal for the evening
  • Cut down on the amount of refined white flour products in your diet, such as white bread, pizza, pasta and rice.  The refining process produces a simple carbohydrate and many vitamins and minerals are lost.
  • Remember fruit is naturally high in sugar as are fruit juices and smoothies so limit these to your diet.  Choose more vegetables to gain your 5 a day.

Happy eating, any questions please feel free to leave comments.

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Train with me

I need you!!!!

 

Train with me

Train with me

Do you think your training is going well?  Is it pushing you hard enough?  Want to try something different?  Ok then, I need you to read this and to do this.  I am basically trying to get you moving by giving you a training session a month to try and stick to.  They will be based on weights, intervals, pyramids etc all sound scary but all fun with a wee bit of hard work thrown in.  I will also give a 3 day ‘diet’ to have a look at and to follow, not for the whole month though just a max of 5 days to help with your training.  The idea of this is to show you different ways of training and to see how I train.  I will be giving beginner, intermediate and advanced options so all abilities can do this.  Give it a go what do you have to lose?  If done right the only thing you will lose is a couple of pounds or more.  Keep active………….

Session 1: Intervals

This is ideally suited to the treadmill as you will work harder, but it can be performed on the bike, rower or X Trainer.  All I will say is each session is 20 minutes in total so you should be pretty tired at the end of the session even if you are a beginner.  Also it can be performed outside if you have a hate or a fear of treadmills just make sure you have a stop watch.  Do the interval sessions at least 3-4 times per week.  If you are following a weight program do that alongside this, actually I highly recommend that you do follow one.  Remember to have your rest days to recover.  The next session will be weights based so it will work with this one nicely.

The beginners session:

Time  
2 minutes Brisk walk
30 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
45 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
90  seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
90 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
45 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
30 seconds Jog

The Intermediate session:

Time  
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
120 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
120 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
120 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog

 

The advanced session: (To be completed with an incline of 2-4%)

Time  
60 seconds Run
30 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
45 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
60 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
45 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
30 seconds Sprint

Repeat this session twice if you dare!!!!!

Diet:

Try this for 3-5 days.  It has limited stodgy carbs so if you are used to them you will find it hard but keep with it.

Meal Food
Breakfast 2 scrambled eggs

Ham

Handful of spinach

Snack Low fat hummus

Celery and carrot batons

Lunch Ham and avocado salad

Salad leaves, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, ½ avocado and ham

Snack Cooked Chicken

Mixed seeds

Dinner Lean meat (chicken, fish, pork, turkey, steak)Roasted vegetables
Snack Small amount of low fat cottage cheese
BINGO!!!

BINGO

But bingo wings???

‘Bingo wings’ is now a term used a lot in the fitness world as it’s the best way to describe the flabby, wobbly bit at the back of your upper arm.  Or technically called a tricep.  Do you have fear of the Bingo Wing?  Do you know how to prevent it?  Or would you like to reduce your own wing size?

With the so called bingo wing I have seen them on ‘fit’ females and the obviously not so fit so don’t despair it seems to be a problem area for most women.  Read on and I will help you battle the bingo…..

Ok, first things first.  To tone up that area you have to start with your diet.  If it wobbles simply that is fat there.  So try your hardest to remove fat from your diet.  I don’t really think you need to me to tell you what the bad fats are, there usually the tasty treats, so just try and remove them and alcohol from your diet.  Also your main daily diet should be based around lean protein, vegetables, low fat foods, good carbs and water!!!!

So that’s the diet sorted.  The exercises I give you will help tone the area but you will have to blast the cardio machines or outdoors running to burn those calories.  Try interval training on any machine in the gym or even outside.  To do interval training you will have to do fast, hard intensity for roughly 1-2 minutes (depending on fitness levels) and a recovery period of 30 secs to 1 minute.  The idea of interval training is to push you to your limits, to push you out of your comfort zone, its meant to be hard, its meant to be tough so if you are not sweating and panting after 20 – 40 minutes of interval training then you have to work harder.

 Ok so onto the exercises for toning your triceps.  Try these exercises, lift a weight that on the last couple of reps you are really feeling it, try 3 x 8 – 20 reps of each exercise and lets work the bingo wings!!!

Triceps

Tricep extension

 Tricep extension:

With your feet shoulder width apart, back straight and stomach tight.  Hold a weight in both hands behind your head.  You are looking to keep your elbows next to your ears.  Extend your lower arm up so that you arms arm straight above your head.  Bend at the elbow and return to the starting position.  It is important to keep your upper arm still and let the lower arm do the work.

Do 3 x 8 – 12 of these

Tricep

Tricep dips

 Tricep dips:

This exercise can be performed in the comfort of your own home by the way!!  So find a sturdy bench or chair and have your hands and fingers pointing the same way as your toes.  You can have your legs bent, legs straight or even your legs elevated on another bench/chair (this is more advanced).  Bend your elbows back and lower your bum to the floor.  You are looking to keep your bum and back as close to the bench/chair as possible to ensure you use your triceps.  To return to the start position simply straighten your arms.  Complete 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Triceps

Tricep kickbacks

 Tricep Kickback:

Kneeling on a chair or a bench with one knee, support your body with the hand of the same side.  Start with the weight in the other hand in at your arm pit, elbow tucked into your ribs, back straight and tummy tucked in tight.  Extend your lower arm back so your arm is straight by your side.  It is very important to keep your upper arm still and let the lower arm do the work.  Bend your elbow and bring the weight back to your arm pit to return to the starting position.  Repeat this exercises 3 x 8 – 12 on each side.

Tricep

Tricep Pushdown

 Tricep Pushdown:

This should be performed on a cable machine or a lat pulldown machine.  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, back straight and tummy in tight.  Tuck your elbows into your ribs and keep them there.  Push down on the handle and straighten your arms.  Bend at the elbow and bring the lower arm back up to the start position.  Always keep your upper arm still and let your lower arms do the work.  Repeat this exercise 3 x 8 – 12 reps.

tricep

Full tricep press ups

 Tricep Press up:

This is a killer of an exercise.  It can be performed on your knees if you can not perform a ‘normal’ press up on your toes.  Have your hands so they are shoulder width apart.  They should be much narrower than when you are doing a normal press up.  Bend at the elbows, making sure the go back the way and that your elbows are close to your ribs, and bring your chest to the floor.  It is very important to keep your back strong and straight and tummy in tight as this will support you.  Straighten your arms to return to the starting position. 

tricep

Kneeling tricep press up

Keep active folks………………

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