Tag Archives: muscle

Is Protein The Secret To Weight Loss Success?

Proteins are the main building blocks of the body. They are used to make muscles, organs, tendons and skin. We also use protein to make enzymes, hormones and lots of tiny molecules that make our bodies work. So, we really need protein to live.

What is protein ? 

Proteins are made up of amino acids, like beads on a string. Amino acids link together to form long chains. Our bodies can make some amino acids, but others we must get from diet. These are called the ‘essential’ amino acids.

When we eat food containing proteins they are broken down into amino acids, which are then delivered around your body. Some proteins are broken down faster than others. The slow proteins will provide raised levels of amino acids to our muscles for longer time. A combination of fast and slow proteins may be the most effective for building and keeping muscle.

So how does it help you loose weight?

  

Protein is incredibly important in losing weight. It can boost your metabolic rate and reduce your appetite. There are plenty of studies that show this. But the key to protein diets is protein’s ability to reduce your hunger – it makes you feel fuller than fat or carbs. This means you eat less while still feeling totally satisfied. Bonus.

Protein – 4 great benefits:

1. Effortless energy use. Studies show that protein needs more energy from our bodies to break it down than the other macronutrients.

2. Feel fuller after eating. Protein makes you feel fuller. Eating more protein can even help decrease calorie intake during the day and aid in weight loss.

3. Lower risk of disease. Eating more protein can help protect against diseases like diabetes and obesity.

4. Boost muscle mass. Protein has a positive effect on muscle mass. When people are dieting they can lose muscle if they’re not eating enough protein.

WHATEVER YOU DO do not think of eating more protein as a ‘diet’, it’s a way of life. Being smart about utilizing the power of protein, along with regular exercise, will help you reach your goals. More protein combined with heaps of wonderful vegetables, good fats and less refined carbohydrate is truly a perfect way to fuel your body: for work, play and fitness.
  

If you’re after high protein, without also adding a heap of carbs, meat is the way to go. Combining any source of protein with a bunch of delicious green vegetables is going to make a truly great meal for your body. Great high protein sources:

  1. Grass-fed beef & lamb.
  2. Free range chicken and eggs.
  3. Wild salmon and shellfish.
  4. Natural yogurt and cheese.
  5. Protein supplement.

Wondering about number 5?  Whilst whole foods are ideal we live in the real world. The benefits of protein in your diet are clear, adding a good quality protein supplement (like Juice plus complete) to your diet might be an option at times. Especially those pushing their bodies physically, or needing a little help to stay on track each day in making good food choices.

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Never Eat Airplane Food Again – Top Tips For Eating Healthy When Travelling

Why do millions of people think they have to eat airport and airplane food because it’s the only thing available?

This is why i feel compelled to share and help you as you have a choice. YOU are in control of everything you put in your mouth and your body is not a rubbish bins for the industrial and processed foods. Airplane food is often heavily processed with tons of controversial additives and preservatives. When you’re flying, it’s stressful. Your body utilizes more nutrients, so it’s important to nourish yourself well and plan.

Bring food with you to the airport & on airplanes.

I’m happy to say that I haven’t had to eat airport and airplane food in a years – apart from fruit! It’s easy to do, but it does take a bit of prep time and you have to make sure that what you bring won’t get confiscated by the TSA at the security checkpoint.

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TSA lets you bring food through security.

In the UK, USA and in most countries, the transit authorities allows you to bring food through the security screening and onboard. Here are some items that work well and don’t get confiscated:

  • Homemade sandwiches wrapped in parchment paper stored in a quart-sized plastic bag. Keep in mind that all food that you carry on will need to go through the x-ray machine at the checkpoint. So, never use any foil. They will want to search your bag and delay your travels.
  • Dips and sauces, such as hummus, salsa and almond butter, as long as it is in a small Tupperware/container,  and put into a small ziploc plastic bag.
  • Fresh fruits and veggies, such as apples, bananas, carrot sticks, celery sticks and avocados. Just wash them at home or in your hotel room before you put them in your bag. If you cut or peel them ahead of time, of course they need to be in a plastic ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
  • Crunchy snacks such as crackers, ryvita, kale chips, etc.
  • Dried fruit and raw nuts make a great snack on the plane. You can make my own mix – 1/2 cup each of raw almonds, coconut flakes, dried cherries or raisins, and raw walnuts. The airport usually has trail mix in boots or Pret a Manger, but it comes along with all the inflammatory oils, other additives and are usually not raw or organic (although Pret is good).
  • Pre-made salads in containers (Tupperware- BPA-free plastic). Salad dressing can be already mixed into a salad or at the bottom of the bowl for mixing in later. Ask for a plastic fork on the plane.
  • Empty flasks – any size. These are great for filling up after you get through security. And you can bring a protein shaker bottle with the protein powder in, then once you are through security go to coffee shop and get some milk and water and mix it up – or on the plane.
  • Tea bags for making hot tea in the airport before you board or on the plane.

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Most people don’t think about this, but you can pack a cooler as one of your carry-on bags. There are some great travel coolers available, and even some that are on wheels that easily go through security for long flights or if you are traveling with family. Just make sure that it meets the size requirements for the airline that you are flying on.

For longer flights, pack some frozen food in your cooler. If you pack some frozen berries or yogurt in small containers, it will help to keep your cooler cool and slowly defrost during your flight.

And remember , exercise alongside your healthy diet when you are travelling. And no you DON’T need a gym or equipment – Click HERE for 9 workout moves you can do in a hotel room!! 

Please leave comments below and feel free to email me – chloehthomas@gmail.com, i would love to hear your top tips or any questions about your travels!

 

Thanks to Vali for some of these tips, check out her great website here.

9 Workout Moves You Can Do In a Hotel Room

The easiest way to get fit (and stay that way!) is to use the one piece of equipment that will be with you no matter where you travel: you. With just the resistance of your own body weight, it’s possible to improve your strength, balance, agility, stamina, and more. The hotel doesn’t have a gym? No worries! Forgot to pack your sneakers? No problem! Accidentally booked a beach vacation during monsoon season? NBD! These 9 moves are excuse-proof, because wherever you go, there you are—literally!

CLICK HERE: 9 Workout Moves You Can Do In a Hotel Room

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Is a Calorie REALLY Just a Calorie?

A calorie, by its simplest definition, is a unit of energy. It’s equivalent to 4.184 absolute Joules.

We’ve all heard that “a calorie is a calorie,” and while there’s truth in this statement, it can lead us astray in our quest to build a great body.

You see, when we’re just talking about mere weight loss or gain, it doesn’t matter where these calories come from. So in this way, a calorie is a calorie. When it comes to PURE weight loss (not factoring in muscle vs. fat, body composition, overall health, physical performance, or energy levels), eating fewer calories than you burn every day will be the main part of the equation. Eat less than you burn: lose weight.

HOWEVER, we’re FAR more concerned with how you look, how you feel, if you are healthy, if you are getting stronger, if your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, and if you live a long life full of activity, exercise, sleeping well etc. You want to do everything in your power to avoid things like heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes – diseases that end your life too early.

When we’re talking about improving body composition (losing just body fat and not muscle, or maximizing muscle growth while minimizing fat storage), you must not only follow the principles of energy balance, but you must do so with a proper balance of macronutrients.


A macronutrient is any of the nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts: protein, carbohydrate, and fat. How you balance your intake of these macronutrients has profound effects on how your body responds to the foods you eat. For example, protein is the most important macronutrient to get right when you want to optimize your body composition. The research is clear.

A high-protein diet…

-Is vital for preserving lean mass when dieting for fat loss.

-Is vital for maximizing muscle growth when dieting for muscle gain.

-Is effective for reducing body fat levels, including abdominal fat in particular.

-Increases satiety, helping you avoid hunger pangs and cravings.

-A high-protein diet is even more important if you’re exercising regularly, as this further increases your body’s demand for amino acids.

Despite what you’ve been told, carbohydrates aren’t the enemy. They don’t make you fat or unhealthy. In fact, there are big benefits to keeping carbohydrate intake as high as possible, even when dieting for fat loss, including…

-Better workout performance.

-Improved retention of lean mass.

-Better thyroid function.

-More satiety.

-Better mood.

Trust me–low-carb dieting is NOT GOOD and is completely unnecessary for the vast majority of people looking to lose weight, and is downright detrimental to those trying to put on size.

What does the perfect ratio look like?

In my opinion, the amount of calories consumed and the ratio of what the macronutrients should differ from person to person depending upon their body, goals, and routine. A proper meal plan not only provides the proper amount of calories but breaks them down into the optimal amounts of macronutrients as well.

  

I’d love to hear your thoughts:

Have you had success with counting calories or calculating macros, or did it make you go crazy?
Which methods have you messed around with, and what are your goals? Are you trying to lose a few pounds, lose a lot of weight, get to a minimal body fat percentage, compete in an elite sport, etc.

Do you use any apps on your phone to record claories alone or do you include macronutrients? -Has this article made you reconsider? 

I’d love to hear from you – chloehthomas@gmail.com, or message me on facebook- click here

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Combat a Slowing Metabolism

1. Aim to strength train at least 2-3 times per week
(This is the most important tip!). 

Whether you’re a gal or guy, prioritize weight lifting in your exercise plan. Adding muscle mass increases your BMR, allowing you to burn more calories even when you’re not exercising. If you’re a newbie to strength training, send me an email chloehthomas@gmail.com and I’ll help you out.

2. Ramp up the intensity of your aerobic exercise (think running, swimming, biking faster). 

Exercising at higher intensities allows you to reap the benefits of “after burn,” a phenomena where you burn extra calories post-exercise. To benefit from this effect, you should run, jump, dance, swim, bike, etc. at a pace where it’s difficult to talk. If you can push a little harder, then do so.

3. Eat enough protein from high-quality sources. 

High-quality protein sources supply amino acids to your muscles post-exercise so that they can repair and grow. To learn more about what foods contain high levels of protein check out my blog post- List of High Protein Foods & their RDA

4. Stay well hydrated

 Water is important because all of the chemical reactions in your body requires water—including the ones that burn calories. 

5. Don’t starve yourself in order to lose weight. 

You need to consume a moderate amount of calories in order to lose weight. If you eat a significantly low amount of calories, you’ll lose weight rapidly but much of it will be from water and muscle loss. Plus, you’ll likely lose hard-earned muscle mass that’s responsible for maintaining a higher BMR.

 


9 Reasons Women Should Do Weight Training  

Strength training is an important part of improving your overall fitness, and for women, it can mean much more. In addition to numerous health benefits, adding weights to your routine can become a form of personal development that builds strength in all areas of life. 

1. Muscle increases metabolic rate and boosts your metabolism naturally.

The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. You read that correctly; by doing absolutely nothing, you can actually burn calories thanks to your mighty muscles. One pound of muscle uses about six calories a day to sustain itself, while one pound of fat burns just two calories daily. And after a session of resistance training, you’ll burn even more since your muscles all over your body are activated. 

Want to burn even more calories? In a study from the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, it was found that women who lifted 85 percent of their maximum load for eight reps than when they did more reps at a lower weight burned twice as many calories in the two hours after their workout. 

By adding muscle through strength training (even just a little bit), your resting metabolic rate (i.e., the amount of calories you burn daily by just existing) increases. Weights temporarily lift your metabolic rate, thanks to a handy process called excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which means your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate even when resting. That’s why, in a study at Penn State University in the US, dieters who lifted weights as well as doing cardio lost 6lb more fat than the group doing aerobic work alone. Athletes are calorie-burning machines even when they are not exercising.

MORE THAN JUST CALORIES:

2. Lifting weights strengthens muscle and bone, which helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis or brittle bone disease

Building muscle mass helps strengthen connective tissues, which increases bone density. By doing this, you’re reducing your risk for injury, and your chance of getting osteoporosis later in life which women are more at risk of than men.

Due to dropping levels of estrogen, postmenopausal women are prone to osteoporosis. Numerous studies show a positive relationship between resistance training and bone density. When bone feels the “pull” from the muscles, bone growth is stimulated. Not only can strength training offset bone loss, it can actually cause an increase in bone density in women who regularly lift weights.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have also found that exercise, which build muscles (here’s how to start your own strength training routine), can actually help to improve balance, improve blood-sugar control, and improve sleep and mental health.

3. If weight loss is your goal, muscle is your mate.

Cardiovascular exercise WILL burn a higher percentage of stored fat but, as Liz says, “A muscular body is a more efficient body. For every additional pound of muscle you gain by lifting weights, your body burns around 50 extra calories every day.” 

4. Shape without the bulk.

If I lift weights, I’ll bulk up like Arnie“- The Truth: Due to their lower levels of testosterone, it is very difficult for women to develop large, bulky muscles. Instead of the bulk, most women tend to build a nice hourglass figure—curves we can be proud of!

On a moderate training plan, building up excessive bulk is impossible. Muscle growth is very dependent on testosterone and women tend to produce 10 times less than men, so you can’t build big bulging muscles naturally. Add to that bodybuilders spend pretty much all day, every day, lifting HEAVY weights and eating large amounts of protein every couple of hours to achieve that look. Unless you put in that kind of time and effort, you’re not going to turn into Popeye.


5. Elevate mood.

Women are twice as likely to develop clinical depression as men, yet two-thirds of these women do not do anything to combat these feelings. The release of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin during resistance training chemically helps exercisers acheive a feeling of well-being. Weight training also leads to an increase in energy, better sleep patterns, and a feeling of accomplishment and control.

6. Lifting weights also has a positive effect on insulin resistance – so your body can convert carbs into energy more efficiently. It raises your metabolic rate by as much as 15%, reduces blood pressure and improves your mood. These are factors that reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

7. Improve posture.

Combat a kyphotic (hunched over) posture by strengthening the backside of the body. Proper posture leads to injury prevention and better power transfer in athletics. And let’s face it, you just look better when you stand up straight (your mother was right!).

8. Move better for longer.

By strengthening muscles and improving bone density, women who spend time in the weight room are typically active for longer periods of time. Increased hip and leg strength aid in mobility and balance, and upper-body strength helps combat postural issues that can lead to back and shoulder injuries.

9. Become a better athlete.

Gone are the days when coaches worried that lifting weights would build bulky muscles that would weigh down athletes. Strength training can lead to better functional movement, explosive power, durability and, of course, greater overall strength.

The bottom line.

Let’s face it: As often as I spout out all of these benefits, I still hear 9 out of 10 women saying they want a better butt. What is the best way to achieve a better butt? Squats. Lunges. Strength training.

Is being Skinny always healthy ?

Health topic of the week

London fashion week 2015 has started which ‘skinny’ models everywhere ! However these models may looks good with their clothes ON but are they really healthy? I have been a model with a leading London agency for 3 years and have taken part in London fashion week and seeing these girls in their underwear has highlighted to me over and over that you may be skinny but it doesn’t mean your healthy -or your fit!

I also see so many models at the gym (if they go that is!) just running or going on the cross trainer and doing no weights- running without doing any weights is surprisingly a BAD decision … So what does this leave their bodies like?

They have what we call “Low Fat, Low Muscle Body Composition”

A person with this body makeup will look anywhere from average size to thin to skeletal. Maybe he or she appears thin with clothes on, but is jiggly underneath, or “skinny fat”. While they may be happy with their weight, they may be unhappy with their appearance.
An extreme case would be someone who appears overly thin; think the supermodels I mentioned above. This person probably doesn’t exercise or maybe focuses on only cardio (which burns calories but can actually burns muscle as well, thus over time lowering metabolism).
Problems occur when people try to be skinny instead of fit. Their diet may be average to unhealthy, but they don’t eat many calories – and yes I see this a lot! I see girls eating one burger and a sandwich or pasta in a day and that’s it!

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A person can also be skinny fat if they naturally have a fast metabolism, so do not feel the need to eat well or exercise because they are slim and appear to be healthy. If someone doesn’t have muscle, in the long term they are more likely to develop insulin resistance and are at risk of developing diabetes.

Startling statistics show that people with diabetes who are skinny fat have a higher mortality rate than obese diabetics!!

The problem with ‘skinny fat’ is that when people are thin, they think they are healthy and don’t realise they have a problem, and often have unhealthy fat around their organs .

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So what could you do if you’re in this situation? 

For a healthier body composition, this body type should focus on adding strength training so that they will increase their muscle tone, while eating healthier foods with enough calories to support their exercise routine.

Remember to bare in mind though how you eat and train will determine how your body will be composed, so it’s essential for each individual to assess their needs based on what the end result should be.

It’s also important to remember that genetics play a part in body composition, too. If you’re genetically predisposed to a certain shape, no exercise will change that…just like no exercise will make you taller or shorter.

Your skeletal and muscular makeup is unique to you, so focus on being the best YOU.

Why Kettlebells Are Good For A Toned Body & Fat Loss

Why Kettlebells Are Good For Weight Loss Your Calorie-Burning Secret: Kettlebells

There’s a reason why so many people love kettlebell training — after all, who doesn’t want a total-body resistance and cardio workout that only takes half an hour? And even more surprising, an American Council on Exercise (ACE) study recently found that the average person can burn 400 calories in just 20 minutes with a kettlebell.
That’s an amazing 20 calories a minute, or the equivalent of running a six-minute mile!

What makes the workout so effective, especially when compared with traditional weights like barbells or dumbbells? “You’re moving in different planes of movement,” says Laura Wilson, director of programming for KettleWorX. “Instead of just going up and down, you’re going to move side to side and in and out, so it’s much more functional. It’s like you move in real life: kettlebells simulate that movement, unlike a dumbbell.”

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You can use kettlebells anywhere ! Workout whilst watching TV or a film at home , in the morning before work or even in the local park. No excuses!
You can buy them from tesco’s or amazon from as little as £10!

http://www.tesco.com/direct/one-body-5kg-kettlebell/206-3376.prd

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So what should you do once you’ve got yours ?

These cast-iron weights come in a range of sizes from two pounds to 100 pounds (for the really strong ladies and gents). Proper use of kettlebells requires strength and coordination, so it’s best to start off with a light weight at first. If you are a healthy and fit female, begin using one that’s about 15 pounds (8 kg).
If you haven’t strength trained in a while (or ever), start with a lighter bell, such as five or eight pounds. To figure out if you’ve chosen the right size, try these three exercises after you read more.

1.Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Holding the handle with both hands, squat down and dangle the bell in between your legs. Hold for a few seconds, and then straighten your legs. You should be able to do this without your lower back or shoulders hurting.

2.Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart, and hold a kettlebell with both hands between your legs. Bend your knees slightly, and then swing the kettlebell forward. You should be able to explosively straighten your legs and lift the kettlebell up so it’s above shoulder height.

3.Place a kettlebell in one hand, and lift it above your head. You should be able to lift your arm all the way up without arching your back and should be able to hold the weight up there for a few seconds.

It’s better to start off with a lighter weight and learn correct technique and posture. Then you can gradually increase to a heavier kettlebell as you become stronger. Since many of the exercises involve ballistic (fast) work, you want to be sure you get some personal instruction on how to use them, since you can end up tearing a muscle if you lift too much or move the wrong way. If this is your first time using this type of weight, I’ll warn you that it can be very strenuous on the body and feel awkward at first. But as with anything, practicing will make you feel more comfortable.

Now what?

1. Follow this amazing workout –

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Kettlebell-Exercises-Weight-Loss-21504882?slide=1

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Then move on to the following

2. Basic 5-Move Workout

This five-move kettlebell workout will torch tons of calories. When learning these exercises, it’s important to start with a light weight first, such as a five- or 10-pound kettlebell. You can increase the amount of repetitions as you become stronger, but first focus on your form and only increase the weight after you can do 20 reps of these moves correctly with a lighter weight.
http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Basic-Kettlebell-Workout-31607864

3. Circuit Workout
This high-energy 30-minute circuit workout combines moves that use kettlebells and weights for a calorie-burning bonanza, which keeps your heart rate up and challenges your core.

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/30-Minute-Circuit-Workout-From-Equinox-Trainer-19828470

Protein- why is this macronutrient so important?

Why do we need protein in our diets, especially when exercising – and what really is the correct amount? 

People are always asking me this so I’ve decided to write a post on it.

According to expert nutritionist Dominic Swift Some benefits of including protein in your diet:

It burns more calories: 
You body needs more energy to process protein than it does carbs, so you’ll burn more calories simply by eating. Result.
It keeps you fuller for longer:
Studies have shown protein is the most satisfying macronutrient, meaning it makes you feel fuller after eating, and less likely to fall prey to snack attacks later on.
-It preserves muscles: 
Your body needs protein to build and repair muscle cells after a workout so if you want a toned bod, you need to up your intake. Plus, the more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you’ll burn at rest. Win win!

So how much is enough

According to the Institute of Medicine you should aim for around 0.8 g of protein per kilo of bodyweight. So for a woman weighing 60kg, that’s about 48g of protein a day.

Where can I get protein?

Lean meat like chicken and turkey, fish like salmon and tuna or eggs, beans, legumes and quinoa if you’re veggie. You can also choose high-protein snacks, like cottage cheese, natural yoghurt, nuts and seeds. Avocado is also particularly high in protein, considering it’s a fruit and all.

Why is Protein important after exercise ?

After a workout is one of the best times to get protein into the body so that the protein can be delivered to your muscles, to begin healing the “micro tears” (very small tears in the muscle tissue, caused by intense contraction of the muscle during workout) in the muscle.

And what about protein shakes? 

Because solid food takes more time to digest and to break down the protein and send it to the muscles, it can be best to take a protein shake immediately following a workout, since protein shakes only take about 30 minutes to reach the muscle after ingestion.
Definitely, we can see the advantage to taking a protein shake in this instance as it will give the body the fuel it needs to heal and grow.

The Power of Protein

Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called “micronutrients.” But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply.

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