get social kent

Having a day down in Maidstone at ‘get social Kent’ event, looking like a good...

Glycemic index

This video will help you to understand the GI number given to foods. To calculate GL correctly use the formula – total carbs x GI / 100(g) =...

Hormones (cont.)

In my first post about hormones I talked about Leptin in hope of showing you how important hormones can be. In this post I’m going to go more in depth with how hormones work within our bodies. As I said before, hormones (simply put) are messengers, one part of the body knows something and it needs to tell other parts of the body so they can prepare and deal with what’s coming, so a hormone is released to send the information. The easiest way to think about it is by thinking about the little child’s toy with a square, circular and triangular shapes with relevant shaped holes. Only the correctly ‘shaped’ hormone will fit the correct ‘hole’ in the cells. As I talked about within the insulin post, glucagon which is released by the pancreas only has an effect on the liver, so no other cells in the body have the corresponding hole to match glucagon. Unfortunately in life, nothing is that simple, hormones are social things. Think about how you act when you go to a friends wedding, you dress smartly, wait your turn for the buffet and generally, you are on best behaviour. But how did you act on the stag/hen do? I’m guessing not the same. Hormones are like us, they act differently depending on who’s in their company (which other hormones are present) and the environment (posh wedding or a drunken night out). If you have been sitting on the sofa all day and decide you want a large chicken and mushroom pizza with extra cheese, fries and a coke then insulin isn’t going to...

Cortisol

Cortisol is part of a family of hormones called ‘stress hormones’. Other hormones in this family include adrenaline & noradrenaline (AKA epinephrine and nor epinephrine) and as I continue referring to cortisol, understand that it is more often than not accompanied by it’s family. As you can imagine these are released at times that the body is under stress or perceived danger. Stress is not just emotional, think of it more as metabolic tension, going too long without eating or not enough sleep . Under deadlines at work, having an argument with your significant other or even over exercising are also forms of stress and all of these have the same reaction on the body, they release these stress hormones. Stress can be good or bad, short periods that helps us adapt is great, but long lived, it will fatigue our bodies. Cortisol causes a rise in blood sugar levels and is in constant battle with insulin. Think of insulin and cortisol as two ends of a seesaw struggling to keep balance as we go through our daily lives. Infact there are a handful of hormones that increase blood sugar levels but only one (insulin) that lowers it. Looking at the history of mankind, anything that was important to us often had multiple assets, which shows we had a lot more issues with low blood sugar than high. Unfortunately in todays world sugar is everywhere, it’s getting harder and harder to get away from it. (Raising blood sugar is not the only opposite that cortisol has with insulin, where insulin builds muscle and stores fat, cortisol is catabolic, it...

Blood Sugar – Insulin

When we eat, the food in our stomach is converted into fuel for the body. This is done by converting the food into glucose (sugar). This glucose is the fuel used by all cells within the body. Our bodies like a certain amount of glucose in the blood stream at any one time. If it gets too high then the body will release a hormone called Insulin. If the glucose levels get too low then the body will convert glycogen (stored in the liver) into glucose to raise the blood sugar level. Lets look at the process of Insulin first. So you have been eyeing up the donut sitting on the end of your desk and finally given into temptation. The sugar and carbohydrates in the donut are converted really quickly (because they have a high GI) and we get a spike in our blood sugars – over the body’s comfort level. Insulin is then released to combat this spike and bring the blood levels back down. Insulin reacts with receptors on the cells (remember insulin is a hormone and hormones are just messengers – like a carrier pigeon letting the cells know what is going on in the body). The cell gets the message that there is alot of glucose and it opens up to take in the fuel. This happens to all cells so they have fuel to live but importantly for this post it happens to muscle cells and fat cells. This is great for the muscles giving us energy to be active but not so good for the fat cells – causing the fat cells...

Group sessions

By mid January the option to run group sessions will be available. Small groups of 4-6 people will be able to book an hours slot for small individualised classes such as boxercise, circuits or anything tailored to your group. No commitment fee is needed, just £5 per person. If you have a small group of friends interested then get in touch to discuss what you would like and arrange a time that is suitable for...

Running group

There are a number of charity running events coming up, such as – *Whitstable 10k – Monday 4th May 2015 *Race For Life at: Folkestone – Sunday 14th June 2015 Herne Bay – Sunday 21st June 2015 Maidstone – Saturday 11th – 12th July 2015 Margate – Sunday 19th July 2015 *Podplus 3 Lakes at Ashford – Sunday 21st June 2015 All for great causes and making for a good day out, whether you are taking part or spectating. I am putting together a running group to help prepare people who are taking part in any of the above events, or for anybody who simply wants to get out and do a few miles, lose a bit of weight, improve general fitness and have a chat with new people. It will be a relaxed group, aimed for individuals who have little to no experience, or anybody who manages 5km in 30+ minutes and wants to improve their time. The group will be in the Faversham and Herne Bay area. If you are interested in joining me please leave a comment, email or text me and I will give more details....

Fitness Tech

A question I was recently asked was about fitness aids and if they are worth getting, not just for the function they supply, but to help keep you motivated. The one I was asked about was the Garmin Vivofit, but I am going to talk about fitness gadgets as a whole. There is a massive array of techy toys out there, from the wrist band I was asked about, to techy weight scales that measure body fat, lean muscle, BMR etc. There are also hundreds of apps on your smart phone, to virtual personal trainers on things like the Xbox Kinect. I like to think of myself as a bit of a geek and I will always have a nose about any new gadgets that I can get my hands on, but I have made some silly mistakes. I’ve bought a new toy because it looks ‘cool’ or out of ignorance thinking I will use it all the time, when in fact it doesn’t live up to expectations and simply gets left in the cupboard. My personal view is that I love having a gadget to train with and if you don’t have a training partner it can be the next best thing (although I don’t think they have one that can spot you in the gym). So when buying a new toy do a bit of research, read the reviews and make sure it will help with what you want. You get what you pay for and the Garmin Vivofit is coming out at roughly £60-£70, although there are bands out there up to £200. These may come...

My New Years resolution

So Christmas has come and gone, New Years came and went and now its the countdown to summer. It normally starts with a New Years resolution – I’m going to eat less, I’m going to stop binge drinking or I’m going to exercise more. Fantastic idea and I wish you all the luck in the world but the fact is that only 8% of people reach their goals! So nine out of ten will NOT get the results they want. Cancer research and several other charities are currently doing a fund raiser asking people to “go dry for January,” and a couple of my clients have taken it up. Looking at the statistics almost all manage the month with a few finding it too hard and some people having the odd slip up once or twice. Now this is a little different to a New Years resolution but it got me thinking about the differences and how to alter the way you think or tackle your resolution. The first and biggest difference is the time frame – one month vs. a whole year. It’s not too hard to imagine where we will be in a months time, plans set in place and thinking of doing something – like cutting out alcohol – for this amount of time may sound like a struggle but we can easily count down the days. So in our resolutions, maybe setting a target that needs to be done every day is too much… To start with at least. Humans are creatures of habit and in general we don’t like change, this is a marathon...

What is my Metabolism and how do I control it?

What is my Metabolism and how do I control it?   Jet engines Catalytic converters Politics These are all things that I have an understanding of what they do and the principles behind them, but no real knowledge of how they work. Most people have heard about this thing called a metabolism but what is it and how does it work? Well your metabolism isn’t a physical thing – although it is…. I’m going to take a guess at what you ‘know’ already. My metabolism is how many calories I burn each day – yes… and no. On a basic level you’re absolutely right but let’s look a little deeper. There are several glands across the body which control your metabolism. Firstly we have the thyroid gland in the neck, a butterfly shaped gland found either side of the Adams Apple and secondly the adrenal glands, a small bulb on top of the kidneys. These are affected by hormones in the body, hormones released by the types of food we eat, the level of fat on the body and any exercise we do. So your metabolism depends on all of these physical attributes which tells your body how any calories it should be burning on a daily basis. This is called your Basal Metabolic rate (BMR). This then leads onto the idea of a calorie deficit diet – if I have my BMR measured at 2000Kcal but drop my calorie intake to 1500Kcal then each day I have a 500Kcal deficiency, over a week that’s 3500Kca or 1Lb of fat. Make sense? If your metabolism acted as a calculator...