Q. I've not been looking forward to going back to work in after the holidays, I've got so many deadlines and it's been making me really making me stressed - over Christmas I haven't slept very well. I know exercise is a good cure, but I simply don't have the energy for anything too strenuous. Is there anything else I can do?
A. Stress is a horrible state to be in, but it's a New Year, so take it as a fresh start! Exercise is a great solution, and with the right mindset, it will take your mind off work. Stress is in fact a prime factor in causing weight gain. When you feel stressed, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, which release sugars into your bloodstream, causing weight gain. Being tired triggers your sugar cravings, and you'll be more likely to snack, and put on weight. Maintaining a regular sleeping pattern is vital to staying fit and healthy, so now the party season is over, early nights are a good idea. You need to activate the body's natural relaxation response with deep breathing, and releasing tension in your muscles, which tighten when you experience anxiety. Yoga is by far the best way to achieve this. Doing a little everyday will flush your body with fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients, and reduce the amount of cortisol released. So why not take up Yoga for the New Year, you'll be ready to take on whatever encounters work throws at you! For more tips and advice from The Colonel, http://www.xercise4less.co.uk/colonel
Q. I'm trying to get by body more toned, and I've managed to keep on top of my gym routine, even over Christmas! My problem is, I'm not seeing any changes in my body and I'm starting to think it might be because of my diet. Over Christmas I couldn't help but have the odd mince pie, but now it's New Year I want to start really managing what I eat. Which foods are the best to coincide with my workouts?
A. You're not alone here, and you shouldn't be ashamed about enjoying yourself over Christmas! Carbs are vital when it comes to reaching your gym goals- fibrous carbs such as sweet potatoes and brown rice will stop you from craving quick sugars like sweets and chocolate- so a hearty curry using these is a great healthy wintery dish! Why not make it your New Year's resolution to eat your 5 pieces of fruit and veg a day, this is a great way of gaining your daily essential minerals your body needs for absorption, fat reduction and cell repair. Lastly, try and leave trans-fats for weekends only, and eat them in small doses. Leave all those mince pies, chocolates, and unhealthy snacks in 2014. They are generally all high in fructose corn syrup, which is one of the worst ingredients if you're trying to eat healthily, they're also really hard to burn off in the gym. Think clean, fresh, filling and nutritious foods for 2015 and you'll be well on your way to that toned bod by Spring! For more tips and advice from The Colonel, http://www.xercise4less.co.uk/colonel
Q. I've heard so many people say in the gym, and read in magazines that you shouldn't eat carbs after 8pm if you're trying to lose weight. I don't get home from work until around 7pm, so this is when I'll be eating. Is there any truth that doing this will make you put on weight, or is it a myth?
A. You may be glad to hear, this is all a myth. If you're trying to lose weight, your main focus shouldn't be on how many carbs you're eating, but instead your calorie intake. Firstly, to lose weight, you should be taking regular exercise, and after exercise, you need to eat complex carbs. This gives your body chance to store them as energy, ready for your next work out. It is a good idea to monitor the amount of carbs you eat if you're trying to lose weight, as generally these are the most calorific food type- but you simply cannot cut them out. As for eating them after 8pm, there is no evidence to show that your body stores them in any different way than it would if you were to eat them during the day. In a nutshell, just because you're trying to lose weight does not mean you have to starve yourself. People lead busy lives, so you have to work weight-loss into your lifestyle. Regular exercise and a healthy diet of complex carbs low in fat, and plenty of fruit and veg is what you need to focus on! For more tips and advice from The Colonel, http://www.xercise4less.co.uk/colonel
Q.I want to get fit for 2015, and I've read that running is the best way to do this. Only problem is, I'm awful at running! After 10 minutes on the treadmill I have the most painful stitch and I'm left with no other option but to stop working out! How can I avoid this?
A. Well done for being motivated to get fit for the New Year, keep this up! There is in fact no finite answer for why we get stitches in the gym, some get them worse than others. Whatever the answer, there are ways to prevent the horrible achy pain. Probably the most obvious solution is not to eat before you work out. Ideally you need to leave 2-3 hours after you eat before you go to the gym. You need to keep your body hydrated, drink plenty of water before you work out, rather than leaving it until you're in full swing. If you strengthen your core muscles, (abs, back and pelvic muscles) you won't get the cramps as much either. Do this by lying on your back with your knees bent, push your hips off the ground whilst tightening your abs, hold for 3 deep breaths. Do this every time you work out and wave goodbye to those nasty cramps, don't let them get in the way of the new you for 2015! For more tips and advice from The Colonel, http://www.xercise4less.co.uk/colonel
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