Do You Really Need Extra Electrolytes?

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I was watching TV the other day when a Powerade advert came on. They were talking about how your body needs electrolytes when you exercise because you lose them through sweat. Of course, the best way to replenish them was to buy their product.

I had no idea what an electrolyte actually is.

I thought other people might be the same so stay tuned to find out!

Do you really need extra electrolytesThey are cells that contain an electric charge, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. And you do you lose them when you sweat so that part was genuine!

The important part about electrolytes is the charge. This charge is what your body uses to communicate with itself. When a positive cell is next to a negative cell a charge can get passed through. This causes a big chain reaction through your body up to your brain. Say your finger is sore, this charge will send a signal to your brain telling it your finger is sore period. These signals keep your Body in Balance.


Electrolytes have a lot to do in your body. Your body knows how much sodium there is and balance this with water so as not to dehydrate you. When you sweat you lose sodium and as such your body retains less water to help you keep balance. So when you have more sodium your body contains more water and water is essential for a healthy body. Electrolytes keep the same balance with the acidity levels of your blood. If your blood becomes too acidic or too alkali it can cause you to become ill. They are also responsible for helping your muscles contract, relax and repair!


Everybody! Everybody needs electrolytes because they’re an important part of your body. Fortunately, they are more than abundant in fruits and vegetables as well as other foods. So as long as you’re eating a balanced diet you will definitely have enough electrolytes.

If you find yourself with bad muscle cramps you may be lacking sodium, one of your electrolytes. The easiest way to fix this? Glass of water with a little bit of table salt. Not so much that you’re sick, just enough to help your muscles sort themselves out.


Generally, I would say no, your body should have enough nourishment stored from eating a balanced diet. The exception is if you are exercising in very high temperatures.

The people who will likely benefit are endurance athletes. If you’re going to be running an ultramarathon, you may be running for up to 12 hours. During this, there is no way of replenishing the body so it might be worth using a supplement.


Basically, they are the oil to help things keep running smoothly! They are simple to get by eating fruits and vegetables, drinking mineral water. As always maintaining a healthy diet! It won’t hinder you to have a sports drink while you’re exercising, but it’s not necessary.

They also tend to be quite expensive so consider making your own a home! Take an empty bottle with fruit juice top up with water and add a pinch of salt. Easy, simple, cheap

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What Affects Your Metabolism

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What Affects Your MetabolismMetabolism is a term used to describe all chemical processes in the body that are to do with maintaining the living cells. Usually, when talking about metabolism, the term refers to how quickly we digest and process food. This is the metabolic rate. People with a higher metabolic rate have more chemical processes happening, so require more energy. This means they tend to eat more because the food gets digested and turned into energy. If you have a lower metabolic rate this food gets digested and stored as fat. Metabolism is affected by a number of things such as your weight, your age, your gender and even the time of day!

But what non-circumstantial events and activities affect your metabolism?


Your thyroid is the gland that is responsible for producing the hormone thyroxine. It is this hormone that helps regulate your metabolism so you burn as much energy as you need. Normally it can tell what your metabolic rate should be but there are various medical conditions that can cause it to go out of whack. If it gets bigger it will produce too much thyroxine causing you to gain weight and if it shrinks the opposite happens. You sometimes hear people in movies say they're overweight because of glandular problems. This is the thyroid. So it could well be true, but there are a lot of other more likely reasons that could also account for weight gain...

Does having more muscles give you a higher metabolism?

According to Claude Bouchard of the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, a pound of muscle burns 3 times more calories than a pound of fat while at rest. So yes having more muscle will give you a higher metabolism. However, the difference is only 3 calories per pound to 10 calories per pound. So gaining 3-5 pounds of muscles will result in about an extra 30-50 calories a day being burned. But over the course of years, this will have a big effect.

What about when you exercise?

When you exercise you use up glucose stored in the muscles. When you finish this glucose needs replacing so your metabolism gets faster to help repair. Your muscles also need to repair which uses up calories. I talked before about high-intensity interval training when I discussed how HIIT leads you to an oxygen deficit. This then leads to your metabolism increasing to help replenish your body.

Drinking Water

Drinking 500 ml of water can increase the metabolic rate by 30% according to an article in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. This means that if you drink 2 litres of water you will burn around an extra 100 calories a day. Again this doesn't seem like much but this is the same as 2.4kg of fat being burnt off in a single year!


Caffeine does increase your metabolic rate. It has the chemical epinephrine which sends a signal to your fat cells telling them to breakdown and release into your blood. But coffee and tea themselves have calories and a whole host of other possible side effects so its not the best way to increase your metabolism.

Green tea

Green tea is a popular part of diets that's meant to aid weight loss and promote a faster metabolic rate. The studies that have been done on green tea and metabolism have produced mixed results.However, water increases your metabolism so a glass of water with some stewed leaves in it is bound to as well right? Also hot drinks do burn more calories because your body needs to work to cool you down after the drink has heated you up.

So overall there are a lot of factors that play a role in your metabolism. Since it can only be measured with specialist equipment and controlled experiments, I think it's best not to think about it and simply let nature run its course! And before you go be sure to give Flat Calm Livings Facebook page a like!


Are There Good Fats And Bad Fats?

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Are there good fats and bad fatsThere is a lot of debate about what fats are good for you and what fats are bad for you. You read about one diet that is all low fat then another which is all high fat. I did some research and this is what I found!


This the worst offender when it comes to to fat as it increases bad cholesterol. This, in turn, can lead to gunk building in your arteries which is bad for your heart. Trans fat is the byproduct of a process called hydrogenation. This process turns vegetable oils into solids.

In the UK, it's never been a big problem since it's most common in fast food - which is not as popular as it is in America. In America, it did become a problem so the FDA began strict regulation of its use.


These are fats most common in animal fat and animal products - milk, cheese, cream. It was first deemed unhealthy because it was thought that saturated fat raised cholesterol, and high cholesterol caused heart disease. The problem was all these assumptions were from animal studies, not human.

More recently, a broader look was taken at experimental data from different countries. From that, it was suggested that there is no link between heart disease and saturated fat!

Americas epidemic is most likely a factor of the fact that there is a huge obesity problem. So it's not what's eaten it is the humongous quantities that are eaten!


Unsaturated fats fall into two categories monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are thought to be the "good fats" and are in most cooking oils.

Mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are both thought to help lower cholesterol. Studies have been done to back this up but if sat fats aren't "bad" can unsaturated fats be "good"?


As I'm sure you know, omega 3 is found in fish but it is also quite common in walnuts as well as several herbs and spices. Omega three fats are the only fats that have all the evidence pointing in their favour. This is most likely because people don't tend to overeat on fish. Omega 3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties which means better blood flow. This lead to a healthier heart and brain.


Now this isn't one I'd heard of before I began research for this article. Omega 6 is the opposite of omega 3 in that it has inflammatory properties. This can lead to heart problems if eaten in excess. There is research currently being done to find the perfect balance between them. Omega 6 is found in sunflower oil, corn oil and soybean oil. Now corn oil and soybean oil are not the most commonly found but they make are often used in animal feed. So if it is all the animals eat it is probably transferring through to the people who eat the animals!

I don't think there is a magic combination of all the different fats. Omega 3 is good for you and trans fats are bad for you. All others don't make a huge difference. Just keep enjoying all different foods in moderation, don't overeat and stay clear of fast food! (Though even fast food in moderation is fine!). And if you can eat some more fish that will definitely help you out!


5 Reasons To Give Up Diet Coke Today

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How bad is Diet CokeI've never been a fan of Diet Coke. It seems too dishonest. At least when you have a regular can of Coke you know it's full of sugar, it's bad for your teeth and is unhealthy. Now with Diet Coke you have no sugar and no calories. So you have to ask, what's left? I did some research and here's what I found.

1. Diet Coke is bad for your teeth.

Everyone knows the old experiment of putting a tooth in a glass of Coke and it dissolves. It's high in sugar and sugar is bad for your teeth, everyone learns that early in life so surely Diet Coke is fine for your teeth?


Diet Coke is still full of citric acid and this acid erodes tooth enamel, which can cause sensitive teeth, pain in your teeth and tooth decay.

2. Diet Coke can make you gain weight.

Now that seems the opposite of what you might expect. How can less calories translate into weight gain?

There was a study done by the university of Texas which examined the long term effects of artificially sweetened beverages and non artificially sweetened beverages. In other words diet versus non diet. This study has been discussed a lot when talking about the dangers of diet drinks but I noticed no one sourced the original paper!

So I dug through Google and found it. It says that after the 10 years the people who drank diet sodas had a 50% bigger increase in BMI compared to those that didn't drink them.

So both groups gained weight but the people drinking soda gained significantly more. Any one who wants to read the paper can do so here.

This is possibly a psychological effect. When your body tastes the sweeteners it gets ready for the boost of energy that sugar normally provides. So when it doesn't get energy, because there are zero calories, your body gets cravings for food. So this means you are likely to end up snacking or over eating and because your body craves that insta-sugar boost you are likely to snack on something unhealthy like a chocolate bar. And people tend to justify the chocolate bar in thinking "Well I had Diet Coke so I'm allowed chocolate!"

3. Artificial sweeteners are not better than sugar.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used in diet soft drinks. This is quite a controversial ingredient as there are a lot of people in both camps as to how bad it is for you (as is often the case with nutrition).

I found a really awesome video going into the details about the dangers of aspartame which I highly reccommend you check out. It's on youtube at And there is an accompanying article at

To sum the article up it talks about how aspartame causes 75% of the worst reactions to food as reported to the FDA. IT has been linked to causing illness ranging from headaches and muscle fatigue to cancer, alzheimer's and fibromyalgia. They also talk about how it first got allowed through the FDA. Basically studies were done into the effects of it and it got denied multiple times by the FDA. Then there were some political changes and the owner of the company trying to get aspartame allowed as a beverage sweetener elected the new commissioner of the FDA who then brought in his own people who declared aspartame safe. The following year Diet Coke went on the shelves.

So regardless of how bad aspartame is for you, it is definitely agreed it is not good for you so best to avoid it.

4. Artificial sweeteners can also change the way we taste.

According to Harvard medical schoolArtificial sweeteners have a much more intense flavour compared to regular sugar. This means that if you eat a lot of foods containing artificial sweeteners you can dull your taste buds so you become unable to taste more complex flavours. This means that fruit no longer tastes sweet and delicious, and vegetables become incredible bland. I imagine the same is also true if you eat a lot of sugary foods. The same dulling effect will occur but it is faster with artificial sweeteners.

5. Diet coke has no nutritional value at all.

None. None of the ingredients provide any nutrients that can be used by the body. The only part of it that is any good is that it is water. So instead of forcing your body to siphon out all the bad stuff to get to the water why don't you cut out the middle man and just drink water!

I've already talked about the great benefits of water here, so I wont go into the details again.

Overall, Diet Coke is not as it seems. For instance, the drink it self will not make you gain weight as they have zero calories but they will almost definitely set off a chain reaction leading to weight gain. More importantly though are how bad all the ingredients are. Maybe the studies have been misinterpreted and Diet Coke will not not give you headaches (Or worse) but it is certainly a long way from healthy.

What about other diet sodas?

I had a look into other diet sodas and they all seem to contain roughly the same ingredients. Packed full of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and various types of acid.

So try and cut out diet sodas completely and replace it with water. If you drink a lot of soda it may take some time for your taste buds to adjust back to normal and for water to taste reasonable but it is worth it. Also having a can a day is a lot. I really cant recommend drinking any of it but nobody is perfect and even I like a can of coke now and again but it probably isn't more than once a month. So just be aware of the dangers.

Please leave a comment to let me know what you think!


High Intensity Interval Training: The 4-Minute Workout

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Is getting fit as easy a 4 minute workout? With high intensity interval training it could be!

High-Intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of training that involves high-intensity exercise for short bursts followed by short rests. Think sprinting for 30 seconds, resting for 30 seconds and repeating for 5 minutes. It has become more and more popular because a multitude of studies have been done showing it's effectiveness in weight loss.

The reason HIIT is so good for weight loss is from something known as EPOC. This is Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. Basically, when you are performing at maximum exertion your heart is using oxygen faster than you can breathe it in so you end up with a deficit. This means after you finish you unknowingly breathe deeper to replenish what was lost. This extra oxygen then makes your body think you are still working hard and need fuel, so it breaks down your fat and turns it into a fatty acid which is act as your fuel causing you to lose weight.

It depends on how long your workout was but this effect can last up to 38 hours after you finish working out!

You can begin in as little as 4-minutes!

Tabata sets are a type of HIIT that originated in the 90s from a professor Izumi Tabata who performed a study involving Olympic speed skaters. From this came the Tabata set. 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest 8 times (for 4 minutes).

So if it's as easy as 4 minutes? Why isn't everyone doing it!

Because it is hard.

Really hard. When itIs getting fit as easy a 4 minute workout? With high intensity interval training it could be! got to the end of a parkour class nothing put the fear in you like the words Tabata sets. That said I am currently doing one a day for two weeks! To see if 4 minutes a day is all you need to increase your fitness. It should be noted that I am a glutton for punishment when it comes to fitness, and Tabata sets are not for faint hearted. The plus side it is it only takes 4 minutes and you can do it anywhere!

One of the downsides is that a lot of the studies that have been done were originally intended for professional athletes. Not to say they won't be effective for everyday people but it may be wise to build up a base level of fitness before diving into the realms of HIIT.

HIIT training gets incorporated into weight training quite often but that is not where my expertise lies and did a great run down of weighted exercises so if you're interested it is well worth a look here.


You are unlikely to find a class called High-Intensity Interval Training but a lot of classes use HIIT. Classes like Body Pump and Body Attack use HIIT and most other classes branded by Les Mills. Then you also get spinning classes and even classes that use the Insanity workout.

Due to HIIT workouts being very difficult one of the best way to feel all the great benefits of it is to join a class. If you are a driven and motivated person and want to do it at home awesome! I do, and the from the sweat I break I know I am working hard enough.

The main feature of all these classes is that they are cardio based, even body pump which uses weights focuses on smaller weights with more repetitions. This is because you get all the great benefits when your heart rate is high and your heart rate tends to get highest when you are doing cardio based exercise.

If you are creating your own work out using HIIT personally I would use body weight and movement based exercises. So focus on running, skipping, burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, those types of exercise.


A while ago I tried the 100 press up challenge. This was a 6-week program which resulted in the ability to do 100 consecutive press-ups - this is the site if anyone is interested I actually did this program twice. the first time I was young and stupid and decided I didn't need a rest day! I pulled a muscle in my neck... So next time around, a year or two later, I was sure to take my rest days and manage to complete 100 press ups after the 6 weeks.

Then my still youthful ignorance came in, I stopped practising and my personal best dropped all the way back again. Sigh. But learning and moving on is the way forward, no point dwelling on the past 

The point is, I was able to ramp up my personal best at push ups so quickly because the program I followed used interval training. You did your set of push ups had a short rest and then repeated for 5 sets. 

So if you are up to the challenge definitely incorporate HIIT into your routine, be it your exercise routine or just you're weekly round the house routine! You are more or less guaranteed great results.

And be sure to check out my Twitter page!


4 key steps for success in a new fitness regimen

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So you've decided you want to get fit and make change happen. Hooray! You know getting fit is easy but what can you do before hand to get yourself in the zone? With these simple tips, you can stay the course and get the results you want!

1.Getting The Right Clothes

This photo is from the very talented Zeno Watson. Check out his other work here!

4 key steps for success in a new fitness regimeHaving clothes you enjoy working out in makes all the difference in motivating you. I got an amazing pair of jogger bottoms with a monkey on the side for parkour and I loved them. Never have a pair of trousers been worn so much. I still wear them now 6 years later when my wife hasn't stolen them. But because I loved the so much I always wore them while training which made them built in motivation! As soon as I put them on a trigger went off in my head going "Yeah it's parkour time! Let's get out there and kill it!"

So If you dedicate a pair of clothes to whatever you're doing you'll get a solid association in your head. You can lay your clothes out in the morning, and when you see your outfit your brain will go into workout mode. Nice!

Wearing clothes you love boosts your self-esteem too. If you feel good in what you're wearing you'll feel more confident so you can just be you. And you're awesome so always be you! At the gym, no one is judging you. Everyone is just getting there head down and working hard. So don't worry! You look awesome in your gym clothes now get out there and move it!

2. The Perfect Playlist

Now I have big ideas of what the perfect playlist is. Full of all my favourite songs with awesome driving bass and motivational lyrics. I have learned to accept that for me, at least, this does not exist. I have tried and tried to create an awesome playlist of music to keep me psyched at the gym but I just can't do it.

So you can leave it up to the professionals. There are people who make great playlists, on Youtube and Spotify for instance, they may even be paid to do so! And they can do a way better job than me or you could so why not listen to one of them if you can! Personally, I don't do this. My phone isn't normally up to the task, given it's about 17 models behind the latest.

So what do I do? I listen to my favourite artists. Jack Johnson is far from pumping but I love him so I listen to him. This makes the experience more enjoyable and if I'm having fun I'm more likely to come back.

Or sometimes I'll listen to an audiobook. If I'm cracking out 20 minutes on the running machine the pace is kept for me so I just have to power it out! An audiobook helps me focus away from my fatigue and enjoy the story I'm listening to so I can try to push myself further.

Or even better most gyms tend to play music anyway so unplug and take in the gym. The music playing usually isn't to my taste  but that doesn't mean it's any less pumping!

If you can make a solid playlist for the gym then do it! It is just a skill I am lacking in so wanted to give some alternatives.

3. Set Goals

Goal setting is the best way to motivate yourself and see definitive improvement. I know for me, at least, going to the gym seems like a meandering process. It doesn't have an end goal and no obvious challenges along the way like other hobbies.

While I was training parkour there were always bigger jumps I could work towards or certain numbers of push-ups stuff like that. These goals really kept me spurred on as I always had so much I could improve and work towards.

I went to the gym anyway because I wanted to stay healthy but I never really enjoyed it until I started setting goals. They weren't big life changing goals just goals that when reached made me feel good. Small ones, like running on the treadmill for 20 minutes at 7.5 on the speed setting. This wasn't groundbreaking stuff but it was something I could work towards before setting a new goal.

So decide on your goals. It's ok to take a couple of sessions finding your feet. Find out what your capable of before setting these goals because having them really makes you work harder. They could be anything:

  • A certain distance to run.
  • A number of lengths to swim.
  • A size of weight to lift.
  • A number of times to work out a week.

I could keep this list going on and on so there are just a few ideas for you. I am also a fan of setting huge longer term goals. A lot of people advise against this because it can be very disappointing not reaching your goals. This is understandable, but for me if I come close to a goal I still get stoked knowing I tried my hardest. If I miss it completely I look back at how far I've come regardless and am quite content with my progress.

Either way always make sure you have a goal in mind.

4. Find a friend

Having a friend to help you stay motivated is a great help when starting out, especially if they already have routines. If you know someone who regularly goes to a fitness class ask them if you can tag along. Working out might be a solitary activity for them so they may so no but that's OK I'm sure you know someone else!

Don't be scared that they will be "better than you". There is no judgement, everyone is pushing themselves. People you think are better than you have been training much longer. They should give you something to aspire to!

Sometimes you don't even need to know the person. When I was in a regular gym routine there was a couple of people I would see who had the same routine as me. I would act as if they were counting on me to be there. I didn't even know there names! I would think to myself "I cant miss the gym today what if mohawk guy's there and I'm not!" It was a sort of competition between me and what may as well have been my imaginary friends, but it worked. Then when I was there and they weren't I could gloat to myself. Again not my finest moment but it wasn't hurting anyone.

So there you have it! If you get these 4 steps locked in and sorted you'll have an even higher chance of success when you start your new fitness regime!

I made up this infographic of all the information here!

Success in a new fitness routine

If you enjoyed this please give it a share or let me know in the comments below!


3 Things To Consider Before Going Gluten Free

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The gluten free diet is getting a lot of attention, I was skeptical so decided to do some research. Is it the golden path to a healthier life or simply a Hollywood fad?

1.First of all what is Gluten?

How many people who begin a gluten free diet know what gluten is? Well the Internet is full of opinions and diet tips but what gluten is, is pretty damn simple.

The Truth Behind Gluten Free DietsGluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. Nothing unnatural and it can definitely be digested by humans on the whole. For Instance Seitan is pure wheat gluten and is eaten as a protein replacement for vegetarians and vegans. It is what makes bread rise when you leave it to sit before baking it. South park did a great episode about gluten free. The story was that gluten is a terrible for you but no one knows why and if you eat gluten your penis will fly off. Hilarious.

Wikipedia has more information about gluten, and the chemistry of it for any who are curious.

2.Who needs to avoid gluten?

Celiac disease is the most common association of gluten intolerance. If you suffer from celiac disease your body is unable to digest foods containing gluten. This results in pain and discomfort, fatigue, bowel problems and even arthritis. Unfortunately it can also be symptomless.

If you are at all worried go to the doctor and they can test to find out if you are a celiac or not.

You could also be allergic to wheat. If this is the case when you eat wheat your body will reject it out of every orifice within four hours. So there is no missing that one!

One major upside of gluten free growing as a fad is that gluten free choices are now widely available. Unfortunately, people could end up desensitized to gluten intolerance as a medical condition.

"I'm just back from the doctor and it turns out I'm a celiac that's why I've been feeling so un well the past while."

"Oh my god! Well I know how you feel, I gave up gluten last summer and I felt way less bloated. It was great! But I missed drinking beer so I gave up, I've thought about trying again though maybe we could try it together?!"

"My body has basically been destroying itself for years ... That is not the same as you being bloated!! EAT LESS CARBS TO BE LESS BLOATED I'M NOT JUST TRYING GLUTEN FREE I HAVE NO CHOICE!!!"


Gluten has been named as a source of several medical conditions: autism, schizophrenia and ADD. In my opinion ADD is likely solved by eating less sugar, and the other conditions being blamed are all going to go the way of vaccines and prove inconclusive.

But lets look at the science. I studied physics at university so I learned to go the source, never trust what somebody else says they read.

The other effects of gluten are known as Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. There is research being done into the relation between these conditions and gluten, but from what I have read there is yet to be a large scale trial undertaken. This is a red flag for me as it means that there is not enough interest or funding available. All the trials that have been conducted have been small examining only a few dozen patients.

The results also vary massively. One paper says it affects 0.5% while another says 6%. This doesn't seem like a lot but that is a huge discrepancy. The difference of 35 million people to 420 million.

So there is reason for some people to avoid gluten but these people have all been diagnosed by a doctor.

The amount of research being published about non-celiac gluten sensitivity is also quite low. I found a table showing how many papers are being published about non-celiac gluten sensitivity. If more papres are being published it means there is more interest and so more people believe it is a problem.  It is getting higher but I don't think there is enough evidence to suggest that gluten free should be adopted by the masses.


Gluten Free

Image source:

For any one who is interested in reading further into the scientific research of gluten and it's effect on the body here is a great paper showing the round up of the research in to celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

3. What Benefits Will You See From Gluten Free?

This is for people who do not have an allergy or any other type of intolerance. If you have already gone gluten free and find you feel much better go to the doctor to get an official diagnosis.

I think the main reason the gluten free diet is effective is that a lot of un-healthy foods have gluten in them. Cakes and Pastries are high in sugar and fat, and if bread is cut from the diet likely its replacement has less calories. So by eliminating gluten from your diet you are likely to be eating less sugars fats and calories.

You are also becoming more aware of your diet. You don't eat mindlessly because you have to check what your eating . You east less processed foods and enjoy healthy options, fruits and vegetables for instance.I have some news though.

You can do these things without changing your diet!

Some people need a catalyst to embrace change and maybe that's what gluten free fad is. Eating less sugar and fats is not a bad thing by any means, I simply want people to take a closer look before diving in.

Beer is another common source of gluten. Not all beers have gluten, there are plenty that don't But being gluten free might mean that, say, going for a quick drink after work becomes harder so you might skip it and again be consuming less calories and less alcohol which will always be healthier.

Some of my friends had been recommended a gluten free diet to help with their various joint pains, one with knee pain and one with back pain. Both tried gluten and felt no better. My friend with knee pain went to a physiotherapist for regular sessions which helped his knee. My friend with back pain, who got recommended giving up gluten by a chiropractor, went to a doctor and got proper treatment.

I have read of other people online having success from giving up gluten, Maybe it's a placebo effect? Maybe there's more to it than gluten=joint pain? Research has been done into how gluten affects people with arthritis, as arthritis can be a symptom of celiac diseaseHowever most studies that have been done have not led to any decisive results one way or the other, so again unless your a celiac or other gluten related illnesses you will likely be fine if you carry on eating sandwiches.

It seems it is not unhealthy to give up gluten as long as you still eat a good balanced diet.  It is quite common to find your self facing a fibre deficiency as you have given up a lot of fibrous foods. You also have to be aware of your Iron intake as well as B-vitamins as a lot of cereals and pastas tend to be fortified with vitamins and minerals. This isn't the case for everyone but it is always good to be aware of what you might be missing out on.

If you think you are thinking of going gluten free you should check with your doctor so they can diagnose you.

In conclusion it seems that giving up gluten when you are not intolerant wont lead to any health problems. You just need to be aware of what nutrients you may be missing out on.

On the other side, the effects of giving up gluten are the same as other diets giving up fatty and sugary foods. So if you can keep it up long term you will likely lose weight and may even feel better for it. Just don't solely blame gluten.

So if you want to be healthier cook all the food you eat yourself, avoid sugary snacks, drink more water and of course you want to exercise at least once a week

Stay healthy and if you enjoyed this please give it a share!


What Are Endorphins?

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What are endorphinsI will probably end up talking about endorphins quite regularly in the fitness section of this blog and it comes up in countless other places around the web so I thought I'd take some time and explain what endorphins are and how they help you!

The Science

Endorphins are a chemical in your brain that when released blocks out pain receptors. The word endorphins mean a morphine-like substance coming from within the body. So it acts the same way as morphine only there are no side-effects. It's a natural high! Check out Wikipedia for the ins and outs of the chemistry

Endorphins get released primarily through times of stress. Your body releases them to try and nullify the stressed feeling by blocking out pain receptors. They get released from a number of activities but the most well-known ones are eating certain foods, usually chocolate, sex and exercise.

They get released during exercise because your body is experiencing stress in the form of your muscles and organs being worked hard and begin to hurt so your body releases endorphins to nullify your brains awareness of the pain. I imagine this is hereditary of our ancestors when we may have been running for our lives and needed the ability to keep going.

The reason they get released from eating chocolate is slightly different, however. Eating chocolate is not a stressful experience but chocolate itself has several different chemicals in it that are commonly found in antidepressants which cause endorphins to release. They are in very small doses of course but this is why chocolate is such a comfort food.

Often when people are experiencing stress or they are overwhelmed by other emotions they get a desire to eat chocolate. For me, however, I have been active my entire life whenever I feel an influx of stress I want to run. I get the overwhelming desire to leave the house and start running. It's the desire for the endorphins that makes me do this as my body knows they will lessen the pain receptors in my brain allowing me to deal with the stress.

How To Make The Most of Them

Exercise is the best way to get endorphins. By completing moderate exercise you will get a dose of endorphins but also get all the great benefits of doing exercise.


It's as easy as going once a week!

Here's some example exercises you can do

  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Tennis
  • Cycling
  • Walking

Walking is one of my favourites because it is open to everyone, you don't have to be shy about it, there are no stigmas about it and people can do it every day! Walk to the shops, park further away and walk to work (Or walk the whole way, even better!)

A lot of people think they are out and about quite a lot, back and forthing from home to work, home, shops, home, but if all of this is done in the car then you have gained no physical benefits. Add in walking to any part of this and reap the benefits! Feel the calorie burning muscle building pump of your legs one in front of the other and live! Sitting in a car doesn't gain you anything so walk my pretties!

Making the transition from stress eating to stress exercise isn't easy, but even if you include regular walking into your routine you will find stress much easier to deal with as a result of the endorphins release and so you wont feel the need to stress eat!

Chocolate does of course have it's place but it is important to be enjoyed in moderation due it's high sugar content. I personally like to keep a bar of fancier dark chocolate so that if I want that quick pick me up I can eat a square and really enjoy it and put the packet back in the cupboard before I get tempted to eat more.

Endorphins are a very powerful tool in out arsenal of well being and should be used to there fullest! So next time you're feeling stressed see what your reaction is, do you want some chocolate? Maybe something else? Whatever it is just be aware of it because awareness is the first step to making change.

Where do you get your endorphins fix?


The Easy Way To Get Fit

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There was an old man in his late 70s who went to my local gym, I saw him there a couple of times and he always smiled so I struck up a conversation, to commend him on his commitment. He told me that he was determined to keep his ability to walk. A lot of his peers were starting to become house bound and he didn't want that for himself so took up going to the gym. He went once per week and spent the rest of the week recovering.

Old strong man

Probably not what you'll look like going to the gym once per week but full respect to this guy! Bet he doesn't need help cutting his steak!

To me, that is the goal. Whether or not I adhere to whatever the current beach bod is doesn't phase me, but having that drive as I'm closing in on 80 and to smile every time I'm doing it. Yes.

It's easy as going once a week!

Generally, people can't go from zero to hero overnight. You can't just wake up one day, decide to get healthy, and start running at 5 am 7 days a week. But if you commit one hour a week to the gym by the end of the year you will have smashed out 50 hours of workout! Now that's not something to be sniffed at! That's equivalent to about 20 guilt-free pizzas, 100 tall caramel macchiatos from Starbucks and you get a whole lot of body toning and endorphins flowing!

And that's with just once a week, after 6 months you'll likely start to feel some differences, such as the day after you've been working out you have lots more energy, your mornings aren't such a chore and you're a lot more productive at work So maybe you start going twice a week instead? Maybe you've made some friends at the gym who all go rock climbing so you join them on a Saturday. Awesome!

It's easy to get caught up in the fast action fast result of fitness that you see in magazines but try and ignore it. Think small, think positive. Say to yourself, on Monday I will go to the gym. I will run/walk, cycle and go on the cross trainer and then the rest of the week is mine to veg out, watch TV, do whatever.

Now a lot of people get great joy out of going to the gym. I can see why you get to be surrounded by other motivated people, it has all the equipment needed to work specific muscles and meet particular aesthetic goals. But for me, it's a bit boring. An awesome workout at the gym has its place but I like to make things a bit more interesting.

You don't have to stick to the gym!


It's the most common place people go to start working out but that doesn't mean it's the best. Enjoyment is the key to maintaining a good exercise regime, so if you had an activity you really enjoyed when you were younger do that instead.

Remember loving swimming lessons at school? Go to the the pool and just try do some lengths for an hour or simply until your tired. Love dancing at the club or round your living room? Check out a zoomba class, I've done a zoomba workout before (granted I was one of the only males taking part) and it's one of those activities that simply makes you smile. You're exhausted and sweaty beyond belief but you get a really good feeling when you finish.

Signing up for a class is also a great way to commit on a longer term. If you know you have a class every Wednesday then you'll find it easier to fit into your schedule, especially if you have to sign up a week in advance.

Don't make it difficult for yourself!

Seriously, the smoother exercising slots into your routine the better. If you sign up for a fitness class that takes an hour to drive too, that's instantly building an excuse right into your routine. "Aww I had to work late so I don't really have the time now". If you can find somewhere on your route home or only slightly off the beaten path, go there. Even if it is a little more expensive, your health is always worth paying for. Especially at the start.

Identify what your most common excuse is and eliminate it. If you like to party at the weekends, don't make Saturday morning your fitness day. My weakness was that if I'd been out all day once I got home I wanted to stay there. I didn't want to go back out in the rain, I've only just dried off! So I started taking gym clothes with me and I'd walk past the turn off to my house and head straight the gym. Problem solved.

Finally you want to reward yourself.

You've just worked out for an hour. Go you! Now you can treat yourself to something nice to help settle into the habit. Most people would tell you to tuck into a protein shake or have a nice salad, and yes while this is generally speaking healthier, thats not what we're about. So have a pizza for dinner, get a chocolate bar, enjoy a glass of wine (Maybe even a bottle...) Because it's not about negating the effects of burnt calories at the gym, it's setting up a habit you can carry with you for the rest of your life.

Also while working out you will be building muscle, and it's muscle that gives you a higher metabolism which burns off more calories everyday. So even if you eat as much as you burn off you will be building muscle which means you burn more calories every day. Awesome right?

So don't panic about how many calories your burning, what type of post work out protein you should be eating or anything like that.
Start small, enjoy yourself, don't make it difficult and pick something awesome to reward yourself for working out!

So have a search around for your nearest leisure centre, fitness centre, swimming pool. Have a look at classes and please give this raticle a share if you enjoyed it!

Easy right?