All about (the not so evil) Carbohydrates

The number one nutrition topic I hear amongst group fitness instructors, PTs and participants is that of carbohydrates. It seems everyone has an opinion about how much or how little needs to be consumed to maintain optimal nutrition. Discussions about carbohydrates being fattening is not uncommon and regularly I hear people suggest ‘drop the carbs to drop the weight’. It is true that a diet that omits or severely limits carbs will certainly trigger an initial weight loss. This is attributed to a loss of glycogen in the muscles, a drop in the body’s normal water content and unfortunately, a loss of some lean muscle tissue. This initial weight loss leads to a feeling of success and people naturally feel as though they are onto a good thing; that cutting carbs is the secret to weight loss. However, the body is clever at adapting and balancing things out and before you know it, the lost weight usually returns and is often accompanied by a few extra kilos.

Why are (the not so evil) Carbohydrates important?

Carbohydrates are critical when it comes to group fitness, training and sports performance.  It is the preferred source of energy for the muscle cells and for those wanting to increase muscle bulk, it’s the carbohydrates that promote protein retention and synthesis. A lack of sufficient carbohydrates makes exercise more difficult; this is because the muscle glycogen is depleted. By cutting carbs you are more likely to tire faster, your endurance will decrease and you are less likely to engage in regular, daily physical activity. It’s often people who follow low carb trends that suffer extreme fatigue after months of yo-yoing success.

For optimal nutrition it’s important that glucose provided from carbohydrates remains at a steady level throughout the day to avoid overloading the system, and that nutritious carbohydrates are consumed after exercise to aid recovery. Low GI Carbs, in portion-controlled quantities will help the system remain steady over the course of the day and help reduce feelings of fatigue experienced when accompanied with an exercise regime. Within half an hour after a cardio class such as RPM™ or BODYATTACK®, a more moderate to high GI carbohydrate source is beneficial for restoring glycogen stores.

A Typical Day

Let’s take a look at a realistic day for an instructor (or gym participant) that will support both training sessions and recovery. If you’re anything like me, a 5am wake up to teach is never easy and the thought of eating breakfast that early is enough to make most a little queasy. If you can identify with this, try half a banana or some diluted fruit juice (1 part juice, 3 parts water) to give you a little kick-start before your Les Mills class. After training it’s important to replenish fluids and glycogen stores. Carbohydrate consumption within the first half hour after a cardio work out is crucial; the other half of your banana or a few dried apricots can be eaten as you walk to your car. If you’ve been doing BODYPUMP®, protein intake is also important, a glass of skim milk is sufficient for most. That half hour window is when the body requires instant uptake to support muscle recovery and to replenish glycogen stores so lethargy and fatigue are kept to a minimum the next time you train.

Over the course of the day eat balanced meals. Fill half your plate with fresh fruit or vegetables, less than quarter with low GI carbohydrates, and less than quarter with lean, quality protein. The other small portion of the plate is a dash of healthy fat. At breakfast this may be a big bowl of fresh fruit, a dollop of natural yoghurt and a sprinkling of mixed nuts and seeds (chia seeds are great). Lunch may be wholegrain mountain bread packed with fresh salad vegetables, lean chicken and a spread of avocado. Dinner may be a large vegetable stir-fry with thinly sliced lean beef, tofu or prawns, with a scoop of basmati rice, soba noodles or quinoa. Reasonable snacks to be consumed around gym sessions include a small piece of fruit, a handful of raw nuts or dried fruit, or a banana smoothie made with skim milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a teaspoon of LSA. The smoothie will certainly fill you up until your next meal and help resist the urge to binge on a packet of biscuits!

So eat smart carbs to support your Group Fitness classes and training, and feel the difference in your recovery.

BY Lisa Simpson | Les Mills

Les Mills Classes at Brighton Fitness

Burn Baby Burn

So…you wanna lose weight the easy way? I think every Personal Trainer and Health Care professional in the world loves it when largely overweight people who have spent years indulging themselves on every kind of food you could think of, no exercise, and sitting down rather than doing anything say they want to lose weight but don’t want to exercise. A quick fix is never the answer and in most cases it can take a dangerous turn.

Today I want to talk about Fat burners and their place in your life. Many people go on fat burners and don’t understand exactly how they work. The same way people start crash diets without understanding what the “crash” part means. There are a few things you need to ask yourself before you even consider taking a fat burner.

The biggest is…WHY?.

What do you think a fat burner is going to do that proper eating and exercise won’t? If the reason you are considering a fat burner is because you don’t have time to exercise then give up now. Every single (good) fat burner on the market will tell you with a teeny tiny little * at the bottom of the packaging that they are to be consumed along with regular diet and exercise. Those that don’t will not work at all and you should probably chuck them in the bin.

Diet.

When I use the word “diet” I don’t mean all the crazy grapefruit, lemon juice, green food diets. I mean, all clean, fresh foods. It’s not rocket science. If its covered in crumbs and fried…it’s not clean. If its grilled with nothing added but maybe salt and pepper…its clean. If its dripping in oil, or sauce, or cream…it’s not clean. If its steamed or fresh like salad, its clean. Clean foods are what we USED to eat before someone invented tomato sauce and thought to put it on everything including fritz which is made of god knows what and has no nutritious value whatsoever! Yet we put it in our kids lunch boxes and wonder why they’re so crabby at the end of a long day,  trying to learn and running around like chickens with their heads cut off at recess and lunch! Have a long good hard look at your diet. Do you think that what your eating is:

  1. Enough for your body to have energy for an entire day just doing what your currently doing now?
  2. Lacking because you never have energy and your always tired and when you get home you binge?
  3. Making you bloated?
  4. Excessive?

If you need help with some ideas for food, you should see a nutritionist, or do some research yourself. The internet has everything you need to know about everything these days. Just like high school though, make sure you look at a few sources and don’t just use the one! Calorie King is a site that has been around for years telling people exactly what is in your favourite foods and snacks. From the fat content of a banana to how many calories are in a single ferrero rocher, you can look up how much fat your putting in your body and how you can cut back. Not only for yourself but for those you love around you too. If it seems too hard, book in with a trainer and they can do it all with you. Having someone educated in how your body uses food for fuel is a great tool to have on hand.

Sleep.

How much sleep do you get a night? You need to be having 7.5-8 hours of good healthy uninterrupted sleep. The best way to get this is to take everything electrical out of your room. Cover up your windows so there is no light at all, and watch how quickly your sleeping changes. I was at a lecture a few years ago where the speaker was talking about a study they had done. In this study they had subjects sleeping in a bed, and they shined a torch on parts of their body while they were sleeping. In nearly every case, the subject’s sleep either became lighter, and more interrupted, or they woke up as soon as the light touched them. Your body naturally rises with the sun, it’s how it has been programmed. However, your body cannot distinguish between sunlight, and the light of a TV, an outside light or a torch. So cover up those blinds, hide those flashing alarm clocks because good sleep, also helps with lesser stress levels which also helps with weight loss but more importantly healthy life.

These are the two most important key factors to weight loss. If you have high stress levels from no sleep and hardly any food, using a fat burner which elevates your heart rate, and in most cases with high levels of caffeine-like chemicals in them make sleeping impossible, your body will be dehydrated and leave you jittery for hours causing your body stress!

Make an Action Plan.

Sit down with a trainer. It can be a one off. You don’t have to commit to 100 sessions a week. Get them to help you work out an action plan. Ways that you can change your diet, change your routines and make your sleeping better. The long term aim is not only to make you 10kg’s lighter, but also to help you make it to 80 without any serious health risks. Making an action plan now, could save you from having diabetes or even a heart attack later.

Make a Commitment.

Now that you have your action plan, I dare you to make a commitment to work hard at sticking with your new healthy diet and sleeping plan for at least half as long as it took you to become unhealthy. For example, if over 2 years, you put on 20kg’s like I did, I want you to make a commitment to spend 1 year trying to work it off naturally. By this I mean, your above action plan, plus regular exercise. If by the end of that year, you are still not getting results, and you have been working really really hard. Honestly hard. As hard as you can possibly work and know that you did everything you could humanly do to lose the weight and there are a few kilos that just won’t budge. Then go for a fat burner….or a health care professional cos you might just be at a healthy weight, and you might not get any thinner!

Fat Burners.

The whole purpose for fat burners originally were to help bodybuilders lose the final weight before their competitions. Some of these guys have 5% body fat. You are not a bodybuilder. You’re a mum, an admin worker, or a tradesman. These people are putting their bodies through things, you would not be willing to put your body through. Having said that, I know that with all the advice in the world, when you just wanna try something, no one will stop you. So here are my top 3 Fat burners. I suggest you research them, or again, see a Personal Trainer about them. Australia also has a very strict body who watch over what comes into Australia from America. Unlike America, we have regulations of what can be in our workout supplements. If Australian Supplement stores do not stock them, you will not be able to get them.

  1.  Thermo Fuel
  2. Lipo 6 (x/black)
  3.  Opti elite pro

Be warned, you should NOT take any of these products without first seeing a health care professional to make sure that your heart is in healthy condition. Do NOT mix these with anything else containing caffeine and make sure that you are drinking AT LEAST 2 litres of water a day!

To be honest, there are so many people in the gym who have lost weight naturally without the need of fat burners and their stories are all the same. In most cases, they spoke with a trainer, they were given advice which they followed and they were patient. If you have been over weight for 15 years you aren’t going to lose all of it in 2 months. So long as you know, it is really a life change, everything that you have been doing in the past needs to change. A tablet will not solve everything. Having a healthy mind and body and attitude will!

Ten Reasons Why Runners Should Include Weight Training

If you like to run and have been struggling to increase your mile pace or need a boost in short sprint speed for the final kick, strength training is the answer. Athletes in endurance sports such as swimming, cycling, rowing, or skiing cross-country will also benefit from strength training.

The right strength training program will also help you lose fat—lightness is always a benefit for runners—and prevent injury. It will also improve your endurance and can help prevent injuries. Strength training also provides protective health benefits such as better insulin sensitivity and higher antioxidant status, making it essential for all runners.
If you’re already strength training and not seeing results, it may be because you’re not doing the right kind of training—that is, there may be something wrong with your protocol such that you’re not triggering adaptations. Luckily, the research tells us what you need to do whether you run 5Ks, marathons, triathlons, or just run for fun.
Take note of a few things before we get into the ten greatest benefits of strength training:
If you’re running to lose weight, strength training is a must. You’ll see results much faster. Strength training will boost your metabolism and improve your insulin health and blood sugar levels in addition to supporting hormone response for fat burning.
Don’t be scared by the idea of heavy lifting. If you are an elite runner and you do not want to increase body weight by gaining lean mass, don’t worry. You won’t gain muscle mass from lifting. The science behind this is revealed in #4.

Recreational runners probably won’t increase body weight from training either, assuming you do a decent volume of running. With the right weight lifting program, you will lose fat. If you want to gain muscle mass, and “get big,” endurance running is probably not a good choice.

Older individuals benefit just as much as young runners from strength training. Lifting weights has been shown to lessen the gap between young and old in terms of strength and speed endurance.

This article is for runners but will apply to most endurance athletes. In some cases I present research using athletes from sports other than running such as rowers and cyclists. These are general conclusions that can be drawn from these studies and applied to most endurance sports because they are based on physiology.

Top Ten Reasons Runners Should Strength Train

1)    Get Faster
Strength training will make you faster. Whether you are a short distance runner (800 meters to a mile) or a longer distance runner (mile on up), you’ll find your pace increasing when you start strength training. Strength training will increase leg strength and improve your body’s efficiency to use energy and oxygen.

Increasing the body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently is a primary goal of endurance training, and it is measured by VO 2 max, or maximal oxygen uptake. Simply, if you can decrease the amount of oxygen needed to run at a certain speed, you’ll be able to sustain a fast pace for a longer time and likely be able to run faster overall.

A study that tested the effect of a maximal lower body strength training program on elite runners found that they improved running economy by 5 percent. Even more impressive, they increased the amount of time they could run at their maximal aerobic speed by 21.3 percent. The weight training group also did regular endurance running during the eight week training program, and researchers compared their gains in running speed and work capacity with a control group that only performed regular endurance training. The control group showed no improvements indicating that for elite endurance athletes, strength training may be the magic component to allow them to improve.

Similar studies of elite cyclists show similar performance results. In a study using Danish national team cyclists, half of the team performed a strength training program and half the team served as a control group. The maximal strength program resulted in improved performance in both a 5-minute sprint trial and a 45-minute endurance trial. The strength training group went 5 percent further in the short 5-minute time trial and 8 percent further in the 45-minute trial.

Researchers suggest increased coordination, neural drive, and strength gains all play a role in making these endurance athletes faster since none of there’s no evidence of hypertrophy, or an increase in muscle size or body weight.

Take away: Strength training will improve your pace and make you faster overall. A maximal (heavy) strength program for the lower body will produce best results.

2)    Have A Better Final Kick

A heavy lower body strength training program will make you faster because you’ll be able to generate more force when you kick off the ground. Combined with better running economy and the ability to use energy more efficiently, you’ll have a better final kick.

One reason strength training will increase your speed is that you’ll increase your proportion of type IIA muscle fibers that fatigue slowly and are able to produce speed and power. The type II fibers are the “fast-twitch” fibers and sprinters have a large concentration of them because their training triggers the development of these fibers.
Muscle fiber research is still emerging but we know that the type I and II fibers are on a continuum that include at least seven different “types,” of which type I fibers are the most aerobic and least powerful. Type IIX are the most powerful and most quickly exhausted. The interesting thing is that with training, you can shift the proportion of these fibers based on the type of training you are doing. Combining endurance exercise with strength training provides the best stimulus for the muscles and yields the most impressive results for speed and endurance.

In the study of Danish national team cyclists, researchers found that the athletes who strength trained increased the proportion of type IIA muscle fibers in the quadriceps from 26 to 35 percent and decreased type IIX fibers from 5 to 0.6 percent, a favorable shift for endurance performance.

There’s limited research into muscle fiber shifts in recreational athletes, but studies suggest that strength training will produce more favorable fiber types for speed endurance in non-elite runners as well.  There is some evidence of a small increase in muscle size, particularly type II fibers in recreational runners, but this occurs with a decrease in body fat and has not produced a substantial increase in overall body mass.

Take away: Strength training will increase your speed. You’ll have a better final kick with more fast, fatigue-resistant muscle fibers.

3)    Decrease Body Fat
Strength training will help you lose fat. The bulk of energy that is burned in the body comes from your resting metabolic rate, which is a function of the proportion of lean muscle to body fat. Body fat slows that metabolic rate and produces various substances that make you fatter, including aromatase (turns testosterone into estrogen) and adipokines (slow metabolism). Muscle and lean tissue improve metabolism instead of hurting it, meaning to be a better runner (and have a better looking body), you want more muscle and less fat.

Experienced and elite runners will know that it is hard to lose fat unless you do large amounts of high-intensity training. People often point out that elite runners are “thin” and have a low body fat percentage. This is true, and they tend to do a very large volume of running at a high intensity. For those of you who are interested in getting lean without increasing your distance or intensity, strength training can help.

For instance, in the study of Danish national team cyclists, the strength training group decreased body fat by 2 nearly two percent and had no change in body mass after the 16-week training program. The group that only did their regular endurance training decreased body fat by 0.5 percent. Other studies have elicited more dramatic results.

A study of collegiate female soccer and volleyball players found that an intense circuit training strength program produced a decrease in body fat of an average of 5.7 percent, which is substantial for a group of elite athletes. This study was interesting because it based the intensity on heart rate rather than the amount of weight lifted. Participants in the high intensity group maintained heart rate at an average of 151 beats per minute by performing vigorous intervals in between sets. The weight lifted was 50 percent of maximal, and participants performed an average of ten repetitions per exercise. This protocol also produced increases in strength. Speed, running economy, and endurance were not tested.

Take away:
Strength training will burn fat and decrease your body fat percentage making you lighter and faster.

4)    Have Better Body Composition
Strength training will enhance your overall body composition. Research shows that if you program properly, you don’t have to gain muscle mass. It’s possible to develop a protocol to get you in shape for endurance exercise and gain muscle with the right nutrition and supplementation, but that is another article for another day.

A common concern for competitive endurance athletes is gaining body mass with strength training. Even lean muscle gains have been a concern because elevated muscle mass is thought to be detrimental for optimal endurance sports where muscle forces are generated to support the body mass against gravity. This issue could be debated since gaining strength and muscle mass in the legs will certainly make you faster if your training protocol is for relative strength. But, for simplicity, I will assume that you are doing a large volume of endurance training, which means that the most you can hope to get out of your strength training program is increased speed and endurance with decreased body fat.

It’s well established that endurance exercise creates a catabolic environment that degrades muscle and bone and shifts the proportion of muscle fibers to type I. Strength training will counter this muscle degrading process and result in strength gains but the anabolic environment will be blunted. In a review of the effect of maximal strength training in elite endurance athletes, researchers Aagaard and Andersen write that “concurrent training can diminish the muscle hypertrophy that normal occurs with strength training,” but increases in performance and strength are still observed.

This is due to the increased proportion of type IIA muscle fibers, but also to an increase in different gene signaling pathways involved in muscle growth and loss, which appear to cancel each other out. Despite no growth in the cross sectional area of muscle, concurrent strength and endurance training increases the ratio of capillaries to muscle fiber area, which improves oxygen delivery and free fatty acid uptake. Greater free fatty acid uptake results in a reduced rate of glycogen breakdown, meaning that endurance athletes are using energy more efficiently, which improves performance.

Take away: Strength training is safe for athletes who don’t want to gain muscle mass. The catabolic/anabolic processes “cancel” each other out. Strength training increase fiber type proportion, neuromuscular function, and fuel utilization for better performance.

5)    Prevent Injury
Strength training will help you get rid of nagging injuries or chronic pain and help prevent future injuries. It will also help you correct structural imbalances that increase injury risk and lead to improper motor patterns. For example, the non-dominant side of the body is often weaker, which will throw your stride off, as will problems with your feet such plantar fasciitis or bunions.

Equally, muscle imbalances within each limb can cause problems for runners. For instance, the vastus medialis obliquus is a common weak link in the quad, and weak calves are thought to contribute to shin pain. Include both unilateral and bilateral leg exercises to avoid imbalances and prevent injury. Single-side training has also been shown to improve sprinters’ speed, and endurance athletes can benefit too

A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed how single-leg “pitcher” squat, also called rear-foot elevated squats, produced significant strength gains that rival those made from regular back squats. Including a training cycle of “pitcher” squats placed extra stabilization demands on the neuromuscular system since the athletes’ weight distribution was biased to one side of the body.

Additionally, forward lunges and step-ups are excellent lower body exercises that will help equalize strength and power between the legs and are excellent for runners. Take note that strength training can also decrease chronic pain and minimize aches and joint discomfort from continually pounding the pavement. Heavy strength training triggers protein synthesis in the connective tissues and will also increase bone strength.

Take away: Strength training improves structural balance and can help prevent injury and chronic pain. Feel better when you run!

6)    Strengthen Your Core With Traditional Lifts
Strength training with traditional lifts such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, and chin-ups will increase your core strength. Better core strength will help you avoid back pain and make you faster. Research shows that multi-joint movements are best to train the core musculature and improve the transfer of power from the arms to the legs.
One group of researchers recently found that core strength for running is best trained with squats and Olympic lifts, but if you don’t perform the snatch and clean and jerk, squats, chin-ups, deadlifts, and push-ups will strengthen your core.  Additionally, if the lower back, gluteals, or hamstrings are weak or imbalanced, glute-ham raises and back extensions are ideal.

Researchers point to the uselessness of the plank exercise to assess or train the core. The plank (and side planks) is performed in a non-functional static position that is rarely replicated when running or in daily life, making it useless as a primary component of training. Equally, unless abdominal or “core” endurance is required for your sport or daily life, it’s undesirable to devote valuable training time to endurance exercises such as sit-ups.

Take away: The best way to build core strength for runners is to perform traditional lifts.

7)    Increase Antioxidant Levels and Decrease Oxidative Stress
Endurance training has been shown to produce a high level of oxidative stress that can lead to chronic inflammation. Strength training will counter both acute oxidative stress, and help you avoid the long-term debilitating impact of this stress.

Scientists and athletic coaches have become concerned about the negative health effects of endurance training because of the daily physical stress that it causes. The inflammatory response to intense endurance training is well documented and some coaches and athletes have attempted to counteract it by taking antioxidants. This is a good strategy since we are inundated by free radicals from our environment and poor dietary choices, but throw strength training into the mix, and you will be much better off.

A moderate to heavy strength training program has been shown to increase antioxidant status and counter oxidative stress. In #4 we looked at how strength training can counter the muscle degrading effect of endurance training, and it can minimize the inflammatory response of intense, repeated physical stress. The stress hormone cortisol is the culprit and it damages cells and tissue in the body and accelerates aging. Strength training will offset this, making you healthier, stronger, and faster.

Take away: Strength training protects runners from the repeated damage of oxidative stress by raising antioxidant levels.

8)    Better Reproductive Health
There is evidence that reproductive health suffers for both men and women from endurance training. Strength training is one strategy to prevent this. A recent study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that intense endurance exercise provokes low testosterone and diminished sex hormone levels in men, which translates into poor reproductive health and low fertility. Previous studies have found similar impaired fertility in women who perform endurance exercise, a common symptom of which is dysmenorrhea or impaired menstrual cycles.

Strength training can help because it will improve hormone levels and counter the oxidative stress from cortisol and related catabolic hormones that cause inflammation and damage to the reproductive organs. Researchers suggest there is a happy medium to reproductive health such that individuals who like to run can improve their endocrine profiles and support fertility and health with strength training. On the flip side, a sedentary lifestyle will also impair fertility, and poor health.

Take away: Strength training will improve reproductive health and fertility in men and women who run.

9)    Better Insulin Health
Insulin health refers to how sensitive your cell receptors are to the hormone insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas in response to glucose in the blood stream. Glucose comes from carbohydrates, a large portion of many runners’ diet, making the maintenance of insulin health a high priority for runners.

You want to improve your insulin sensitivity because doing so will support a faster metabolism and better energy levels. Insulin health is a component of performance because it is involved with helping your body process energy along with speeding recovery from intense endurance training by aiding in the replenishment of glycogen stores.

If your cells are insulin resistant, you will have a slower metabolism, have poor performance, and be at risk of developing diabetes. You will also have greater amounts of oxidative stress, which damages cells, cause inflammation and accelerates aging. As mentioned in #8, oxidative stress is already a problem for runners and endurance athletes, meaning you don’t want to exacerbate the problem by causing more with high levels of insulin.

Strength training is a well known strategy for diabetes prevention and for improving insulin. A recent study in the journal Nature showed how during exercise—any time you perform muscle contractions—the body produces a hormone called irisin that will improve insulin health. With strength training, you intensely and repeatedly contract the muscles producing extreme force, thereby producing even more irisin, which in turn greatly promotes insulin sensitivity.

Take away: Strength training improves insulin health and helps you recover from running by aiding in replenishment of energy stores.

10)    Best Results With Heavy Lifts and Varied Tempo
Perform a strength training program that includes heavy lower body lifts for best results. Runners often make the mistake of performing resistance training programs that are geared toward increasing muscular endurance instead of strength. This will not make you faster.

Naturally, if you are new to strength training, you will need to develop base levels of strength, and a muscular endurance program may be appropriate. It’s necessary to achieve basic strength and flexibility in the hips and ankles so that you can properly do squats and deadlifts with good technique.

Once you’ve got the basics down, you will get the most out of your strength workouts by lifting heavy—above 80 percent of the maximal amount you can lift. The only research studies that haven’t produced gains in running pace and speed are those that used too light of a load or were for too short of a time period—less than eight weeks.

To get the most out of your strength program, perform multi-joint, ground-based lifts such as squats and deadlifts. Step-ups and lunges are also essential. Although, a more advanced technique, lifting with a varied or slow tempo will also provide benefits to runners. Tempo training, or the variation of the amount of time spent on the up and down phase of a lift, is a great way to provide a new and different stimulus to the muscles. If you feel you’ve hit a plateau or want to try something new, consider varying your tempo—it will challenge your weaknesses and make you faster and stronger.

Take away: Runners new to lifting should develop base levels of strength and flexibility. Then, it’s time to lift heavy and vary tempo to turn weaknesses into strengths.

by Charles Poliquin

Brighton Fitness

Quesadilla Love!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 2/3 cup (140g) semi-dried tomatoes, drained, chopped
  • 1 large avocado, thinly sliced (see note)
  • I chicken Breast cooked and diced
  • 1 cup (120g) grated cheddar cheese
  • sour cream and lime wedges, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat a large sandwich press. Place 4 tortillas on workbench. Top each with tomatoes, avocado, chicken and cheese. Season with pepper. Sandwich with remaining tortillas.
  2. Place quesadillas, 2 at a time, in sandwich press. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until toasted and heated through (see tip).
  3. Cut quesadillas in half. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges.

Notes

  •  Tip: Quesadillas can also be cooked in a large, greased frying pan over medium-high heat. Or in the oven on a tray with another tray on top to squash the tortillas down.

For some reason or another we are drawn to bad foods. Is it the fact that they’re bad? Like when your parents say don’t eat sweets before tea because it’s bad so while they’re not looking we try and shove as many cookies in our mouths as we can. Well…maybe you didn’t do this but I did! This of course doesn’t do my hips or butt any favours and now that I’m going to be training for INBA Sports Model division this October, the need to stay away from that very very bad food has become more necessary and a lot harder! So what do I do when I get that craving for something really really bad? I make Quesadillas! Not only are they pretty healthy but they smell and taste so so good that any craving you had for something greasy or oily is completely satisfied. The best part is they don’t take that long to make either! Instead of sour cream though I have home-made salsa with mine…but you guys go ahead and treat yourselves ;) Stay tuned for some more of my favourite meals for now, I gotta go train!

 

originally on Taste

Brighton Fitness

A Favourite Cheap Meal

Okay. So I’ve told you my favourite cheat meal and you may be wondering why I started with that? The reason is I believe in all bad things in moderation! I have been hearing too much lately as always about how bad carbs are for you. So now we’re all walking around tired and hungry and craving bad stuff because all of a sudden someone out there decided carbs are a no. Ladies and gentlemen these are bad carbs:

Yes they look pretty but so does a poison arrow frog people! Carbohydrates are a form of fuel that your body uses for energy. Having said that, eating 10 donuts which also contain sugar and starch and fat and are High Gi will most likely cause you to have a sugar high and then an “I’m fat” low.

You have probably heard that the French, the Italians, the Japanese and pretty much most cultures eat pastas and rice meals for breakfast. We all know how much the French love their croissants! The great question is probably why? I’m no historian but I’m pretty sure most of these countries have high farming and agricultural backgrounds, and to be doing high intensity labour all day long, you need a good fuel source to keep you going. There is such a thing called Nutrient Timing which explains a lot about eating the right fuels to support muscle growth, sports performance and development. It can however be applied to everyday life. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve trained clients early mornings and they cannot give the session 100% because they didn’t eat well before they trained. Having said this, it’s different for cardio, before a race etc. “Carb loading” is usually used by people running marathons etc.

These are good carbohydrates. See the difference? These are natural, and low GI. Now I’m not a nutritionist so for more information on Low GI, High GI good vs. evil on these things it’s best to speak to a professional Nurtitionist. So, now that we have cleared that up, I would like to share with you, how I use my carbs:

Breakfast:

Fruit & oats

Pre-workout:

Tuna (protein)

50g of brown rice

Lunch:

½-1 cup of vegetables (e.g sweet potato)

Dinner:

½ of vegetables (e.g broccoli,cauliflower)

Obviously because I’m doing heavy weights training a larger portion of my meals are protein based but as I mentioned earlier, I use nutrient timing to try and get the most benefit out of my carb intake before training. So next time you think about skipping a meal and wonder why you couldn’t give 100% in that attack class, or just cannot put in as much effort as you would like to, look at the foods you are eating and maybe how energy-wise they affect you. You wouldn’t believe what your body would tell you once you start listening to it!

Pictures from: sheridancebar.com & life-without-fat.com

Brighton Fitness

“Crunch” – The Facts

To crunch or not to crunch, that is the question!

The idea of doing crunches is to make the abdominal muscles bigger, stand out more and give us our ‘six pack’ effect.  But the fact is we all have a six pack under our body fat just waiting to be exposed. It’s through correct diet and exercise that your dream of having rippled stomach muscles will finally be revealed.

The most effective way of chiseling the rectus abdominal muscles (six pack) is NOT BY DOING CONTINUOUS CRUNCHES!!! “Ho hum, boring”……  and by the way if you have disc, spinal, back, neck or shoulder injuries doing crunches can do more harm than good!

According to a study published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy last year, the best way to target your rectus abdominal muscles is to do the exact opposite of a crunch (where you bend your spine)- a Swiss ball rollout (where you brace your spine).  In the Swiss ball rollout you place your fists on a ball and extend your body into bridge position.  This exercise is not new but just a dynamic version of the plank which is one of the oldest exercises for building strong core and lower back muscles to support your spine.

Studies have shown that doing rollouts and planks work your upper and lower abdominals about 25 per cent more than a crunch or sit-up.  They are much more effective in creating functional core strength that is in turn going to prevent back injuries in the future and enable you to perform everyday activities or sport better.  In a plank you are getting an entire core workout including glutes, upper/lower back, shoulder girdle, chest and all abdominal muscles.

There are many ways to do a plank and once you can hold if for 60 to 90 seconds move on to a more challenging version.

So to break it down simply –

  • watch your diet,
  • do cardio workouts (running, walking, rowing, aerobic classes) to raise the heart rate, burn calories and lower body fat mixed in with some resistance training to increase overall muscular strength, tone and increase metabolic rate.
  •  This is what will set you on the path to a healthy, strong body and of course great looking abs.

If you are looking for a functional program to challenge your core then try

Lesmills CXWORX!! 

This is a short, sharp 30 minute non-stop core training session that combines the best of personal training with the energy of a group fitness class.  Just bring your strength and determination!!

Brighton Fitness Centre

SH’BAM is coming to Brighton Fitness

“The class where you come as you are and leave as a STAR!”

What is SH’BAM?

Featuring simple but seriously hot dance moves, SH’BAM™ is the perfect way to shape up and let out your inner star – even if dance isn’t your natural thing. Set to the soundtrack of chart-topping popular hits, dance music heard in the world’s hottest nightclubs, familiar classics remixed and modernized Latin beats, SH’BAM™ is the ultimate fun and sociable way to exercise.

What is a typical class?

A typical SH’BAM™ class is 45 minutes long with twelve different tracks. Each track features unique choreography and is essentially its own stand-alone dance routine.

The class will kick off with your instructor taking you through a basic warm up where you get everything from your shoulders, to your chest, to your hips and even your fingertips moving.

What follows is 35 minutes of uncomplicated but super fun dance combinations – not only will you have plenty of opportunity to master the simple moves, the combination of high intensity and recovery tracks means you get a really great workout!

You’ll be loving it so much that time will fly by, and before you know it you’ll be bringing your heart rate down with some sassy stretching.

Click on the link to view a sample of SH’BAM

Boot Camp – What can you expect?

Boot Camp will run as a 4 week program of 2 sessions per week on Monday and Friday and is designed to improve your level of fitness.

You will be an integral part of the Brighton Boot Camp team, encouraged to work together and motivate each other with exercises to challenge your aerobic capacity, improve your strength, power and endurance.

Your leaders will be Commando’s Mandy and Aidhan, who will ensure you work above your expectations in the one hour session.

Boot Camp will be at Angus Neill Reserve, Seacliff, starting 6am sharp!! (penalties apply if late)

Boot Camp is guaranteed to motivate you to achieve your best!

Take the challenge as you will be challenged!!!

 

STARTING:  MONDAY 5TH MARCH 2012

COST:                                         MEMBERS                    $100

NON-MEMBERS           $140

CASUAL SESSIONS:             MEMBERS                    $15.00

NON-MEMBERS $20.00

See reception staff for bookings.  Payment will need to be made by Monday 27th February or your place may be offered to someone else.

 Brighton Fitness

Pretty in Pink

Girls Night in!!!

Friday October 28th

Fundraiser for Breast Cancer

BRIGHTON FITNESS ALONG WITH CALLIE, TAHLIA AND PETE ARE HOSTING A ZUMBA MARATHON

COME JOIN IN THE PARTY!!!

$5.00 PER PERSON WITH ALL MONEY RAISED GOING TO THE BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION

 Brighton Fitness Centre

FUNDRAISER FOR JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION

 Yoga & Body Balance Workshop

with Jackie and Dee

Sunday 2nd Octoer 

11 am till 12:30 pm

A 90 minute interactive workshop focusing on the common poses performed in your Yoga practice and in Body Balance

Learn postural awareness and fine-tune your technique to increase your strength and flexibility in the poses.

We are running this workshop to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and will gratefully accept any donation to this worthy cause.

Thankyou in advance

for further information please call 8358 3001

Adelaide Fitness Centre – Brighton Fitness

Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button