Sugar, good or bad?

With the Miriad of mixed messages in the media and so many experts telling us how to live a healthier life, what to eat and drink, how to live, how to exercise pretty much how to do everything. The problem is so much of the advice is conflicting and often complicated and confusing, how does a consumer know what to do?
My motto is simplicity!!! And that applies in many different ways. Firstly we get taken in by the all too clever( and frankly unethical) marketers for the big food manufacturers. We are bombarded with adverts for “healthy/ low fat/ low carb/ etc “foods that it becomes difficult to know what we should and shouldn’t include in our diets.
So sugar seems to be the latest target of mass marketing, avoid sugar go for sweeteners instead.
My advice to my clients( and anyone who asks) is yes sugar is a massive problem. It’s in everything bread, yoghurts, pasta, drinks etc. So even if you think your diet is pretty much sugar free, I’m prepared to bet it’s got more in it than you think.
My solution a sugar detox( now I hate the word) but it works!
The first stage is to change your taste, that is,get back to enjoying whole, homemade foods, full of taste and nutrients but no need for sugar. It’s totally amazing how much tasty wholesome foods we can eat and enjoy when our bodies no longer crave sugar.
Don’t get me wrong a 21 day detox is difficult but once you get past the first few days and your energy levels increase, you sleep better and you feel lighter it becomes easier.
Now I’m not suggesting that you never eat sugar again and I’m not advocating cutting out fruits, just being sensible about quantities. Believe me once your body no longer craves sugar constantly( whether that is bread, crackers, chocolate, pastas etc) it’s totally liberating to feel in control, to be able to choose to have a piece of cake and enjoy it but also not want it more often than not!
Almost as an aside not only will you increase energy, skin will improve, you’ll sleep better, you’ll be more positive and happy and you’ll likely drop some weight.
What more could you ask for?
Now I’m not suggesting you just cut out everything and live on salads. Let’s face it how long could you keep that up? You need to feed your body lots of nutrient dense, tasty and satisfying foods. You need to plan and prepare so you have foods to hand so as not to make hasty and bad choices. Plus under no circumstances be taken in by the low fat, no sugar marketing and end up eating products which are processed, have little nutrients and are loaded with harmful manufactured fats and sweeteners.
Our levels of sugar intake have gone through the roof in recent years and it’s time to take back control, eat like our great- grandparents and fuel our bodies to live long and healthy lives.
Happy eating

Kettlebell training benefits for all but particularly older generations

Not heard of kettlebells or not sure what they are?

A kettlebell  is a canon ball with a handle on top. It comes in various materials although mostly cast iron. It is used for a variety of momentum based moves like swings, presses and lifts. It has been a method of training for many, many years, but now is only really finding its place amongst the mainstay of fitness classes.

Unfortunately many people still don’t know how it is used and its effects and benefits. It is wrongly often thought of as just a tool for young and very fit individuals or the weight training/ body building enthusiasts. This couldn’t be further from the truth, yes you can use very heavy weights to build muscle bulk and strength but it by no means stops there. Most of the moves, certainly the traditional ones,are based on momentum and control rather than just lifting as heavy as possible. Because of this it can be used for  improving strength and body conditioning.

Because of its shape and the fact that whenever it is moved the centre of gravity is constantly changing therefore requiring stabilisation from the core( entire torso) in order to control the movement and momentum. For this reason alone it is a great tool for everybody but particularly those of greater years, because as we age it becomes all the more relevant to have good core strength, flexibility and balance. All of which kettlebell training provides.

Other benefits  of correct kettlebell use are, increased joint mobility, improved posture, greater muscle strength and stability to undertake those everyday tasks which can become harder as we age, such as bending, getting up from sitting, squatting, twisting, lunging and being able to lift and carry. This really is the real beauty of training with kettlebells, so many of the natural movements we take for granted at any age are worked with during kettlebell movements.

kettlebells is accessible to all with the correct coaching and technique, and that’s where many people fall down, they try to learn without proper expert help and as with anything done wrongly it greatly increases injury risk and reduces the achieved benefits.

My most favourite thing( and true of many of my clients too) is that correct kettlebell use doesn’t need to be long in duration and the benefits are so many. Not only does it help with flexibility, balance, core strength, posture and joint stability, it also aids fat loss, increases heart rate therefore giving a great cardiovascular workout but without the need for jumping around or the impact moves which some people can’t or don’t want to do.

Kettlebell training is fun, effective and short in duration which from my experience are the main things today’s busy people look for in a workout.

My final word would be to make sure you get some professional help with the techniques to ensure you maximise results and minimise problems. Have fun and give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose and lots to gain.

Happy swinging