Monday, 25 November 2013

Foam roller for better posture and reduced shoulder pain

I picked up a tip from a strength coach to lay in the below position on a foam roller for 15 minutes. After doing this most evenings before bed, my posture (which has always been bad) has improved dramatically. Not only have I stopped looking like a vulture but the shoulder pain that I have had for the last two years during movements such as pushups and bench pressing has virtually gone.


If you work in an office, if you are a dentist, or even a student, being in a position with rounded shoulders for the majority of the day can often lead to shoulder and back pain. You can't necessarily change your job but you can reverse the posture that could cause further issues. These issues can manifest themselves in the gym, especially during weight training. Imagine having rounded shoulders and then trying to press a weight directly above your head. Most people do this. If your shoulders are rounded and you try to force them up (with a weight) then this could lead to a whole host of problems due to poor alignment.

If you struggle with poor posture, tight shoulders or a specific injury in this area, try the above for 15 mintues a night. Put on some therapuetic music and it's actually a good way to unwind!



Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Paleo Diet

The Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet is all the rage at the moment. In my opinion it's a great way of eating. The Paleo diet is basically all the foods we hunted or foraged for when we were cavemen. The Paleolithic era was around 2.5 million years in its dutation and only ended when agriculture progressed and started to dominate the way we ate around 10000 years ago. It's difficult to argue that it's not a natural way of eating simply because we have eaten this way for so long.

The foods predominantly on the Paleo diet are:
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Seasonal local fruit and vegetables
  • Herbs and Spices
In my opinion the paleo diet is fantastic if you are looking to get lean. The reduction of carbohydrates naturally promotes the burning of fat, as the body isn't looking to burn sugar (from the carbs) first. The main difficulty of this diet is the lack of 'normal' foods that we are used to eating. Basically all the foods we eat due to the introduction of farming i.e bread, pasta, dairy, caffeine, etc. You also need to apply a fair amount of preparation and ensure these foods are in the house. No nipping to the bread-bin when feeling hungry!

However if you applied the above foods 80% of the week you would still lean out. Your energy levels would be good as long as you had adequate protein and good fats at meal times. If you are looking to build muscle in the gym then you can still follow this plan. If you find it hard to put on muscle then simply add in potatoes and rice to the equation.

A typical Paleo day may look like this:

  • Breakfast - Eggs, ham, grilled mushrooms and grilled tomatoes
  • Snack - Nuts and seed mix
  • Lunch - Fish and mixed salad
  • Snack - Cold meats
  • Dinner - Steak with baked vegetables.
  • Late evening - Berry mix

If you ate this way for the majority of the week with the occasional 'off' day or meal then you would shed pounds and change your bodyshape quite quickly.

Eat how we were designed to eat and feel the difference! If it wasn't around 2 million years ago, simply don't eat it!



Thursday, 7 November 2013

More protein, more energy

Sometimes the worst thing you can do when you are tired or hungry is reach for some sugar, especially during the day. As soon as your blood sugar levels hit rock bottom, it's natural to crave something sugary to lift these back up. Things like bread, biscuits, cake, chocolate, will all start to jump out at you! Do your best to resist and head for the protein instead. In a matter of minutes this should turn things around. Your blood sugars will even out. If you eat sugar, they will crash again and the cycle continues.

Protein consists mainly of fish, meat and dairy. The key when snacking on protein is to find simple options that you can eat at home or on the go:

  • Pre-cooked meats e.g ham, chicken, beef 
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Tins of fish e.g mackerel on some ryveeta/rice cakes (tinned fish serve as a great back up for a meal if you are short on time. Add to salad, veggies, rice dishes)
  • Cottage cheese - either straight out of the tub or again on ryveeta/rice cake (try the chive or pineapple versions for variety)
  • Nuts
  • Cashew/almond butter 1-2 teaspoons on ryveeta/ricecake
  • Glass of milk
  • Whey protein isolate drink mixed with water
  • Beef Jerky
  • Protein bar (quite high in sugar but better than a chocolate bar if you are on the road)

Even if you feel the need to grab some carbs, have some protein with it. Protein with slow down the digestion of the carbs and you will feel fuller for longer.