Getting Your Healthy Takeaway Fix

Takeaways… the opportunity to have a night off the dirty dishes and decision making for whats for tea. Where once upon a time ordering a takeaway was a rare treat saved for the end of the week when the weekly shop had run bare, it is now an option that is more accessible than ever. With popular ordering apps making delivery times smaller and the options wider it is tempting to have more than one ‘cheat day’ a week.  The question is what is stopping you from recreating your favourite takeaways with fresh ingredients from your own kitchen? Here are some of the reasons to make the switch from takeaways to fakeaways. 

Homemade is Healthier…

It is no surprise that takeaways use ingredients that are higher in saturated fats, salts and calories which gives them there initial taste and fulfilment but later leaves you still feeling hungry. Homemade dishes can be just as tasty but with far fewer calories and salt making it a more beneficial and substantial meal whilst still feeling like a treat. Nutrition is just as important as exercising have a look at our nutrition section in our learn page to find out more.

Healthier body and bank balance… 

The ease of takeaways comes at a price and usually far more than a home cooked meal costs. Although certain takeaways may not seem to be expensive but spending the same amount on fresh food would allow you to make more than one meal. 

Here are some ideas for homemade takeaways… 

Fish and Chips Friday (serves 4)

A chippy dinner is an iconic British staple but their deep fat fryers are not known to be the healthiest choice, but swap it out for fresh fish and less oil and the results are delicious.

potatoes 4 (Cut into thick wedges)

sunflower oil

paprika 1/2 tsp

white breadcrumbs 100g

Lemon 1/2 zested 

Plain flour 2 tbsp

egg 1 (beaten)

thick white fillets 4

Step 1

Heat oven to 180C, Toss the potatoes with the oil, paprika and seasoning. Put on baking tray and cook for 30 minutes, turning once until they are golden on both sides. 

Step 2

Mix the breadcrumbs and lemon zest and put on a plate. Put the flour on a separate plate and the egg in a bowl.

Step 3

Flour the fish then dip in the egg, the coat in the breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a large pan then fry the fish for 2 minutes on each side until it is crisp and golden. Then transfer the fish into the oven with the chips for 10 minutes. 

Serve with chips and enjoy. 

Cals   Fat   Salts   Fibre  Proteins 

350    8.6g  0.74g  2g     30g

 

Homemade Pizza (serves 2)

Ditch the greasy pizzas for a fresh alternative with the choice for healthy toppings. 

 

For the dough…

strong wholemeal flour 100g

sachet died yeast 7g

warm water 125ml 

For the topping… 

Tomato puree 3 tbsp

mozzarella 25g 

cherry tomatos (handfull) 

courgette 1 large 

step 1 

Preheat the oven to 200C. Mix the flour and yeast with a pinch of salt. Then pour in the water and mix into a soft dough. Roll out on a floured worktop round to about 30cm across.

step 2 

Spread the tomato puree on the base, arrange the cherry tomatoes and courgettes on the puree and then scatter the mozzarella on top. Leave for 20 minutes then bake for 20minutes. 

Kcals  fat  carbs  salt

479     13g  78g    1.43g

 

Before starting any new exercising  or nutritional regime consult a professional . This is important for any individuals with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or property damage sustained by using our advice.

When exercising if you experience any dizziness, chest pain or any abnormal symptoms stop the workout immediately and contact a doctor.

Hula Hooping Your Way To Being Healthy 

You may think hula hooping is just for kids but think again. Hula hooping is a new craze sweeping the exercise world. When looking for motivation to exercise often a home work out is not inspiring enough to get up and active but this new craze is making a classic childhood activity a new and fun way to loose the inches off the waist and make 30 minutes of exercise fun again.  Find other ways to motivate yourself through our learn page

Here are some of the reasons why hula hooping is becoming an exercising sensation.

1. Picking the right hula hoop

Although hula hooping is fun on its own getting a weighted hula hoop is more beneficial for burning calories and inches off the waist. Starting with a bigger hoop is recommended for beginners to get into the swing of it. As you get stronger you can advance to a heavier hoop. It is recommend to start with a 1lb hoop and beginning with a 10 minute workout. 

2 . Burn those calories

Alongside making the appropriate changes to your diet hula hooping increases the chances of loosing the inches around your waist and hips. Recent studies found that 13 women over 6 weeks lost on average 3.4 cm around their waist and hips.

3.   Integrates your core muscles 

Hula hooping focuses on moving your hips and keeping a rhyme which increases the mobility in your hips and waist. Hula hooping regularly is an excellent way to target your abdominal area and build strength in your core.

4.  Inclusive Activity 

It can be hard to acquire all the gym equipment you need in a household or pay for an expensive gym membership. Hula hooping requires no commute nor an expensive piece of gym equipment to get fit and become healthier. It makes an inexpensive simple portable item the key to your workout routine which can be enjoyed by every member of the family.

 

5. Balance is included

Whilst hula hooping is beneficial for the core and weight loss it also helps with your general balance and mobility. Hula hooping as your regular exercise gives you better control over your body’s movement and posture. 

6. Get Creative 

Set yourself targets! Hula hooping is a way to increase cardiovascular activity in limited space, put a set timed playlist on and hula hoop until the end of the playlist. With the Mayo Clinic reporting that 30 minutes hula hooping can burn up to 165 calories in one session. A 30 minutes episode of your favourite TV show will be as beneficial as as a 2 hour run. 

Before starting any new exercising  or nutritional regime consult a professional . This is important for any individuals with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or property damage sustained by using our advice.

When exercising if you experience any dizziness, chest pain or any abnormal symptoms stop the workout immediately and contact a doctor.

5 Ways to Keep a Healthy Mind, Body and Attitude as a University Student

Having been a university student in Hull for the last 4 years, I’ve seen first hand that people can have ups and downs in their health. The new found independence that is discovered by lots of students can allow some people to harm their mental and physical health by making bad choices. These new lifestyle choices can stick and the longer someone is stuck in their ways the harder it is to have a positive mindset to regain a healthy way of living. I’m going to inform you of 5 ways in which you can achieve a healthy mind and body whilst being at/going to University.

  1. Exercise

Exercise is crucial in keeping a healthy body but it also has great effects on the mind as well. 150 minutes of exercise per week is generally recommended as this can help with feeling more positive, sleeping better and performing usual tasks much easier. Universities will normally have some form of gym on campus or have one near the Halls where the students live. The gym is a great way of getting into the mindset of exercising and has lots of equipment that would be too expensive to buy for the average student. Although, the gym will most likely have a monthly fee to use their facilities but budgeting this into your monthly spends is definitely worth it. If the gym is too expensive for you, it may be worth having a look at home work outs that can be done and downloading apps to help track and guide your fitness routine.

2. Societies and Sports

At university there are normally lots of ways to get involved in group exercise with team sports and societies that are focused on making sure students are out there enjoying themselves and staying fit. If team sports or sport in general isn’t your thing then joining a society of any kind can help you meet likeminded people and help with making friends and being confident.  Societies come in all different topic areas from Science groups to those who love Disney, so there is something out there for everyone and newcomers are normally welcomed in with open arms. Social isolation is a main cause of mental illness so to be in a group of friends which you meet up and chat with during the week can help to keep you in a positive mindset as well as having a better attitude towards university work.

3. Eating Habits

The independence that university can give you is a blessing for some people whereas, there are others who are less ready to take the step and need time to adjust. Cooking is a skill that not everyone has acquired when they get to university but it is vital that you keep a healthy diet and cook balanced meals unless you’re provided with them. Eating right will not only help keep your body in good shape but it will also help with working by keeping your heart and brain healthy for those long periods of lecture and study. It is said that in a days worth of food, a good balance should consist of around 40% of fruit and veg, as well as 40% of Carbohydrates (e.g Pasta and Rice). The other 20% of a balanced diet is split evenly between proteins, dairy and fat/sugar. For more help with focusing on creating a healthy meal plan and keeping to a healthy diet, Apps may be useful for tracking calories as well as other blog posts which go into more depth on this topic.

4. Sleep

The importance of sleep cannot be overlooked when trying to be healthy and keep up to date with deadlines and work that is being set. Students are likely to fall into the trap of having a more nocturnal sleeping schedule which may not only effect their work but also their mental health as sleeping during the day can lead to a cycle of negative health impacts. The charity ‘Mind’ suggests that a lack of sleep can lead to tiredness which then makes it difficult to complete normal daily tasks and gives you low self esteem. All of this coming together can make anyone worried and stressed which begins the cycle of a lack of quality sleep back to the start. Getting yourself into a routine, which includes getting up at a reasonable time, can help you to achieve your goals and leaves you with time to enjoy doing what you like to do in your free time. Not only will you be happier and more driven but the people around you will notice the change in you as well!

5.  Do what makes you happy!

Societal norms can be seen wherever you are, not just at university and it’s seen as ‘normal’ to follow the crowd and do as your peers do. University is a place to try new things and make new friends. Don’t be scared to join different groups and makes friends in lots of different places. When you let go of expectations and ideals that people expect of you and be who you want to be you are most likely going to become a happier, more positive version of yourself. University is a place for growth as lots of students have a new lease of life without restraints.  Keep your options open and do not let anyone tell you what you want to do, because in the end only you know what you want and there’s only one person that can get you where you want to go. Go out there and be yourself!

If you are planning on starting any form of rigorous physical exercise or new nutrition plan please see your doctor, especially if you are making a change like this and are over the age of 35, or have health conditions that may cause damage to your body from changes like this. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

 

 

 

 

Which Dieting method is for me?

Dieting. What is the best?

If you are here it is probably because you have tried dieting in the past and for some reason it has not worked for you. So here I will post about two different less commonly known diets and how each one works with details of the pros and cons of each to give you a more educated view on your next potential diet. Mainly this is because we all know that not everyone is the same, people have different tastes, different lifestyles and therefore not everyone’s diet will also be the same.

Atkins Diet.

The first diet is one which not everyone may have heard of but it is called the Atkins nutritional diet.  This diet focuses on the body’s insulin levels by trying to restrict the amount of carbohydrates entering the body.  With most people when the body takes in carbohydrates the bodies insulin levels increase and from this the amount of energy that is stored also increases. Therefore, by restricting the amount of carbs you take in this enables the body to not store excess energy which allows you to eat more foods containing protein and fats.

Pros.

By this diet only restricting one food group ( carbs) this allows you to eat all the other types of foods which are usually restricted in most diets such as cheese, meat and other high fat foods. Which we all can say is a big big bonus.

Another perk to using this diet is how you can eat whenever you want as long as the food is in the permitted group. This mean no more long breaks between food and you can just eat when your body is hungry. No more need to be Hangry.

If you are someone whose suffers from Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that by having a more regulated insulin function this can help reduce and even sometimes reverse the effects of Type 2 diabetes by ” Controlling symptoms of metabolic syndrome.”

Cons.

Unfortunately like most things there can be drawbacks.

The first major thing which I will get out of the way first is the drop out level. Even for a diet which only removes one food group plenty of people choose not to stick to this diet and will move onto something new. Therefore if you are someone who struggles keeping your diet in check this might not be the best thing for you.

The Atkins diet is more of a  diet that is aimed at the short term. With the diet basically changing normal metabolic behaviour in the short term of less then 6 months this diet is one which shows the most weight lost. However if this is a diet you want to try for the long term understand that after 6 months the weight loss will be minimal and it may be best to slowly transition your way to another form of weight loss.

The Zone Diet.

This diet is one in which you might need your pen and paper out for this one.

So the Zone diet is one in which you need to calculate all the nutritional information of all the items you eat. 40% Carbs 30% fats and 30% protein. Now what this diet does is that it match’s your own bodily functions so like the Atkins diet it helps regulate your insulin levels in order to give you a more successful weight loss regime.

Pros.

This diet gives a better more ” balanced ” diet as there is not one specific food group that is restricted. This means that even though certain foods would have to be eaten in small less frequent occasions it is still possible to do so if done correctly. So if you are someone who will just not give up chocolate you do not have to.

This diet is more universal as you do not have to have any animal products to meet your protein level. Therefore if you are vegetarian or vegan or just don’t particularly like animal products you do not have to. However  word of warning some of the top brands in vegetarian food do have a very high carbohydrate level, and even some would have too high a level for this diet. Therefore this is something to look out for.

Cons.

Now I bet some of you have just scrolled past this bit as I have said it requires some tracking. Unfortunately this is one of them diets when you have to read all the packaging in order to correctly figure out your allowance for each meal. Even something as a snack will require calculations. So if you are someone who does not want to be reading and solving maths problems just to eat I would not recommend this diet.

Now If you don’t mind getting your calculator out from time to time another negative to this diet is how you are not restricted to a particular food group. However you are restricted to certain items within each category. For example with proteins you are more then welcome to eat chicken breasts and other lean pale meats, but if you are a big fan of steak or other organ meats ( yes not steak and kidney pies) then these are not foods which would help this diet.

Dieting as a whole.

I know some of you who have go to this bit may be sceptical about trying a new diet, or one which is not as common as some others. I would ALWAYS recommend that if one of these diets is something you are planning on going for please check with your doctor first as they would be able to give a more educated and personal recommendation rather then just a blog on a website.

Just think reading up on this is the first step on achieving your goal.

Stay safe everyone.

5 Healthy snacks you can eat on the Go.

 

A guide to well-being mentally and physically throughout lockdown.

When it comes to being healthy, looking after your mental health and well-being is just as vital as looking after your physical wellbeing. From nutritional advice to routines here are is our guide to looking after your wellbeing and mental health throughout lockdown.

With numerous lockdowns and restrictions, the world we live in today can feel quite strange, draining, and hard to grasp a routine of everyday life. With new social media tribes forming from fitness fanatics to self-care gods and goddesses, we can take one crucial observation from lockdown, self-care and wellbeing are vital. It’s completely normal to feel uneased and not yourself in this day and age of a global pandemic. Still, there are ways you can take care of your wellbeing and help manage your mental health. With clinically approved information from the NHS “Every Mind Matters” page, Mind, and expert advice we have put together some advice and tips on how to stay positive and manage your wellbeing all throughout lockdown.


Stay Connected
Staying connected to friends, family and people that help you stay positive can be a great help during lockdowns and can support others too. Talking about your feelings can help you reset your mind and lift that weight off your shoulders. Sometimes anxious thoughts can be changed from a simple conversation and getting out how you feel. Social contact is excellent for your mental health, whether through a phone/video call, voice note or little message. Social bonding and talking to others can release the hormone oxytocin, releasing a positive mental state.

There are many ways to stay in touch and talk about your feelings, from arranged group calls, quiz nights, and catch-ups. These are ideas that can help break up the day and help you stay connected. With lockdown along came the benefits of the internet and digital apps, keeping us connected. Streaming services such as Netflix now have watch parties where you watch films and shows with friends and family whilst talking. Social activities and talking can bring a positive impact on your well-being. Connecting with others can make a huge difference, be sure to check in on yourself and others as talking it out is always a good start.


Balanced Diet
We have all seen lockdown pasta and baking trends emerge from our time spent in isolation and as much as we agree on treating ourselves and listen to what our body wants we also believe in nurturing our bodies from a healthy and balanced diet. The way we eat can affect our wellbeing and even our mental health, a great way to eating a balanced diet and mindful eating is to plan meals and look through recipes that your body and mind can benefit from. Cooking from scratch and cutting or lowering your processed food intake can also be beneficial, learning to cook or making things at home is also a great hobby and activity to do during the lockdown. Here we have a few recommendations for mindful eating, from healthy breakfasts to mood-boosting recipes. Listen to what your body needs and keep your diet as colorful as possible. Hydration is also important, our bodies need water to stay healthy and hydrated.

By Victoria Soanes

Create A Lockdown Routine
With lockdowns and isolation changing your everyday life routines, it can be quite hard to adapt to a new schedule and change from the shift of motivation to working and studying. How can we stay motivated? With most of us now working from home, we may find it hard to concentrate or create a weekly schedule. Here are some ideas to help keep you motivated and build your lockdown schedule. 

– Tailor your schedule to your interests and priorities: We all have different preferences, whether it be work or fitness. It’s always good to note down things you find are essential in your life. 


– Follow a morning routine: When adapting to working from homework or education-based, it is essential to keep a morning routine that can help put you into a working mindset. Start with a time you are happy to wake up to every day, get ready for the day, make breakfast, arrange a workspace, and set out times that suit your work schedule. Always allocate breaks for yourself too!


–  Find moments for yourself: Whether this is through meditation, walking or exercising and self-care. Taking some time out of your schedule to tune into what you need is healthy.


– Start the day with a to-do list: If you don’t like to follow schedules, another great alternative is to start the day with a to-do list, you can add to it throughout the day. Alternatively, you can start your day off with a morning tea or coffee and write down what you want to achieve and do on that day.

 
– Give yourself breaks! : It is essential when trying to fill the day up, look after yourself. The pandemic doesn’t mean you have to stay productive and distracted, and it’s okay to switch off. Also, to take a breather, you’re doing great!


At Home Workouts & Exercise

When it comes to staying fit and healthy through lockdown it can seem like a struggle due to the closure of gyms and outdoors sports, however we can take this as an opportunity to discover at home workouts and local beauty spots outside our front door. From walking and running to home workouts and yoga, we’ve got all your fitness needs covered with our workout guides.

FITNESS APPS TO MAKE EXERCISING AT HOME EASIER
THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE FOR MENTAL HEALTH & WELLBEING


Make A Playlist

Sometimes creating playlists to suit a mood or feeling can really add some positivity to your day, creating a workout playlist can also be really beneficial to getting in the right mood to exercise.

How to make the best exercise playlist

Sleep Routine

Getting a good nights sleep and a healthy sleep routine is essential when it comes to wellbeing and mental health, we rely on sleep to reset us and get us prepared for the next day physically and mentally. Here are some guides to help aid sleep and get a healthy sleep schedule.

THE SLEEP AND EXERCISE RELATIONSHIP
THE IMPACT OF SLEEP ON HEALTH AND WELLBEING


Taking Time Out For Yourself


Taking a break is so important during lockdown, whether it is through a pamper night or catching up on your favorite show. Here are some ideas of self-care that can promote a healthy mindset and encourage wellbeing.

Journaling: The powers of journaling can help reduce stress, boosts our moods, and helps strengthen our emotional functions. You can start journaling with notes on your phone or you can get creative and by a journal and personalize it to your liking. We believe writing how you feel or what you got up to in the day is really therapeutic and can help guide us into a healthy mindset.

Self-care: Self-care can be whatever you want it to be, from a homemade spa night to meditation. Taking time out of your life to look after yourself can promote a balanced mindset and help keep a positive mental state.

Start a new hobby: Creative and interactive hobbies help us stay focused and also can distract us in a healthy way from any negative impact lockdowns have created. Hobbies such as writing, painting, cooking, or even gaming can help give us that escape we need.

Meditation & Yoga: Meditation and practicing yoga can help both your physical and mental state, encoring wellbeing and a healthy way to unwind. Yoga and meditation can even be practiced through reaching techniques, here are some of our yoga-based articles that may help.

YOGA EQUIPMENT ESSENTIALS

Overall, this is a tough time and we are all dealing with the impact of lockdown differently. You are doing great though, keep up the good work and stay strong!

The secret to get rid of your phone and keep motivated during the exercise

Do you suffer from phone addiction during your sport exercise? Do you check your phone a lot with  curiosity, afterwards you lose your motivation to continue? You answer a call from your friend or text messages and you don’t become ready to take more pressure when you return to exercise?  Is that what’s worrying you?

Already Realizing that you have a phone addiction problem is the first step to getting rid of it. Here are 5 tips for you to get a great workout:

  1. Spend your time with other useful things while you rest:

The dependent person usually suffers from a lot of emptiness and boredom when resting during exercise, so prolonged use of the smartphone negatively affects mental health and increases feelings of frustration and hopelessness, causing the nervous system to have periods of rest that exceed the required duration. The ideal is to keep busy with things that do not exceed the rest period, such as a small discussion with the coach or a colleague to fill the void and pass the time.

2.Use a phone armband during your exercise:

If you want to change a habit you first have to create obstacles that will block you, for example you have to block access to using the phone with simple things like a training armband to get rid of unnecessary uses that make you want to have more, such as social networking sites. Indeed, putting the phone back in the armband after each use is a tiring thing, so you will be lazy to do it and it is an ideal way to get rid of phone addiction. In addition, the cuff is the ideal choice for holding the phone when you exercise with freedom of movement, you need to find a flexible and very comfortable model. The most practical thing is to opt for a armband that does not squeeze too tightly in order to carry out the exercises correctly. It should not be an annoying accessory for you and should also have a sweat-absorbing capacity.

3.The gloves provide complete finger protection:

If you are wondering how to stop this addiction to the phone during your exercise, you must continue to create obstacles to break this bad habit, because getting rid of it starts in the mind before the body, so that you create obstacles, your brain will persuade the body to stop repeating the mistakes. In addition to empowerment, the gloves will also give you a reduction in tiredness, support and help you fight the sweat resulting from your exercise. Moreover, with gloves, it is practically impossible to operate your phone, it is very unpleasant to have to take off your gloves to pick up the phone or consult social networks for nothing. We recommend gloves with full finger protection
4.Keep the selfies until the end of the exercise:

If your addiction to the phone during your exercise is because of the selfies, because you take a lot of pictures and at the end you are not motivated, you shouldn’t blame and judge yourself because all these things seem normal and repeated in our daily life, in order to document happy moments and share them with those we love, to become a group of beautiful memories, but we just recommend that you learn how to take pictures at the end of the exercise and at the end of each exercise, try to give yourself the opportunity to feel the feeling of relaxation, leave everything, relax on the floor and feel the effect of the exercise on your body, and make sure that you only return to this exercise in order to feel this feeling again before you even think about taking a selfie.

5.Desactivate notifications

Application notifications on the smartphone are one of the most important reasons that make you look at your phone’s screen continuously and repeatedly throughout the exercise, which can be classified as addictive phone use, so to get rid of this problem, you need to set or disable all application notifications on your phone. Indeed, if your phone does not ring repeatedly for notifications and updates, it will be easy to ignore it. You can only set an alert for important notifications, such as text messages from your family. The ideal is to distract yourself with anything when playing sports, and in this case meditation exercises are very ideal, whatever sport you do, always try to distract your attention from the pain the exercise causes you, and kill two birds with one stone.

Addiction to the smartphone will not be eliminated between a session or two, but rather requires a bit of patience and will gradually reduce usage, so remember that you need to live your life outside the screen of your smartphone and enjoy the moment of sport, enjoy meeting people with you at the gym, make new friends and accomplish the tasks of the session to the fullest. We recommend that you bring a friend who trains with you, this will ensure that you never give up exercising, it will motivate you and push you to keep going, so we always advise you to choose the right friend, a friend who is a sports fan, to join you and exercise with you, and when we say it’s appropriate, anyone who is full of energy and vitality and loves to spend time with him or her, and in this way you will love to exercise and avoid using the phone at all times out of respect and to spend time with your chosen friend.

 

 

How Do Esports Athletes Stay in Shape? A Guide To Balancing Fitness & Competitive Gaming

It’s the roaring 20s and being a gamer is cooler than ever. Long gone are the days of video games being blamed for violence and laziness in modern society, now many professional gamers are influencers with large followings, fashion brand-deals and highly regimented training/fitness routines.

Cloud9’s 2016 CS:GO Roster

But how can you keep your body healthy when your livelihood involves sitting in front of a screen playing video games for multiple hours a day? Let’s explore the world of e-athletes and fitness.

As investment into the world of esports increases exponentially year on year, one of the areas that has emerged recently is esports performance analysis. By using sports psychology techniques seen in traditional sports, esports teams and players are chasing that edge to put them ahead of the competition. In esports, the difference between a won game and a lost one can come down to the finest details such as being a couple milliseconds faster to react than your opponent. Research has suggested there is a link between fitness and reaction times, staying true to the commonly thrown around idea of “healthy body, healthy mind”. The evidence is there to show that staying fit and healthy positively affects a person’s mental health and therefore improves their efficacy in whatever it is they may be doing.

Companies that specialise in esports performance have started popping up over the past couple years, most prominent of which are the Canadian based Adamas and Gscience, a UK based firm that offers athlete performance services on top of public resources designed to educate gamers on how to stay fit and ahead of the game.

Further to the resources available on their website, Gscience, much like Adamas, offer in-person and online performance coaching. The performance psychology techniques they employ are also seen in traditional sports, there is a lot of emphasis on teamwork, leadership and “developing a culture of excellence”. The agencies create bespoke training/fitness programmes for the esports teams they work with, Adamas operates out of a state-of-the-art facility near Vancouver that houses the same performance training equipment that you may find at a premier league football club.

Another topic that comes hand-in-hand with performance analysis is nutrition, gamers aren’t exactly famed for having good eating habits but is that changing? Getting a balanced diet is one of the key aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and everyone should give some thought to what they are putting in their bodies. By eating healthier food, you’re helping your body by function better by having a higher endurance and improved mental abilities.  On top of eating a healthy diet, now nutrition products for specific lifestyles exist, Nutrition21 has created “NooLVL”, a unique ingredient they claim increases cognitive performance in esports players.

One of the main health problems gamers face is a reliance on caffeine for performance, and while consuming a moderate amount of caffeine ought to be safe, consuming it at the rates that some gamers are infamous for can lead to serious health concerns. Replacing caffeine with healthy eating and exercise isn’t always easy but it is the best way to chase those often much needed endorphins.

So now you know how the pros stay on top of their game, what can we learn from them? And what should you be doing if you’re an aspiring esports athlete who is concerned their body may suffer as a result?

A good starting point would be creating a simple performance plan for yourself, this can be something as basic as allocating time slots for gaming sessions, in between mealtimes and physical exercise, making sure to take regular breaks when gaming. You should aim to do at least 20 minutes of active exercise most days to make up for intense competitive gaming sessions. Players’ heart rates can get up to as high as 160-180bpm when competing, this can cause serious complications as heart rates should not be so high while sedentary. Many gamers exert themselves mentally in a very similar way to high-performance athletes, those sorts of heart rates are typically seen in athletes exercising at full speed. https://readyesports.com/can-you-actually-train-for-esports/

When creating a plan, be sure to set goals for yourself. You could try to set yourself at least one fitness goal and one gaming goal each week.

Another thing to consider is physiotherapy and injury prevention, a great resource for this is Dr Levi Harrison on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiRC80FJbHU&ab_channel=DrLeviHarrison

Dr. Levi

He produces videos on specific exercises that gamers can do to stay ahead of the game and avoid injury, many professional gamers have suffered from wrist injuries which have lead to them having to take an extended break from competition. The wrist is the gamer’s hamstring.

Ultimately, getting/staying in shape is a mental battle as much as it is a physical one and everyone should dedicate a fair amount of thought to it and figure out what works best for them. This same mental battle applies to competitive gaming or sports, gaining a competitive advantage through lifestyle choices is the future of esports. Being an athlete is about so much more than being the best at whatever it is you do, it is a lifestyle. Up to now this has not translated fully to esports but as agencies like Gscience and Adamas continue breaking ground in the industry, we are likely going to see a major shift towards developing an e-athlete lifestyle centred around maximising performance.

So, now is as good of a time as any to start looking after your body and improve your gameplay whilst you’re at it. Start today by creating your plan, even if that simply involves taking more regular breaks and exercising for a few minutes each day, you will feel the mental and physical benefits.

FINDING BALANCE THROUGH YOGA

You are already a yogi.

We all know Yoga is good to lengthen the muscles and increase flexibility, but what we often forget is that yoga offers a much wider range of benefits to keep our mind, body and spirit in check and functioning properly. The best thing is that a part of you already practices yoga, you just don’t know it.

Have you ever stopped and stood quietly to appreciate nature? Or laid back on the couch and just breathed slowly? Or have you ever stood on your tiptoes and stuck a leg out whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, just for the fun of balancing? Well, these are all forms of yoga in their own way.

The beauty of yoga is that it lives in our every movement. From the beginning of our existence, we naturally know how to breathe and eventually everyone develops movements which can be interpreted as yoga poses. Regrettably, throughout the years we have forgotten how these movements are so natural to us. Along the way as well, often due commercialism and social media influence, people have come to believe yoga is only to be practiced by super attractive, super flexible people.

What is yoga if it’s not about stretching?!

It’s true, when you say you do yoga people think straight away that it is all handstands and palms together. But in reality, it is a process of small changes over a long time. ‘Yoga’ comes from the Indian Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which means ‘to join’. It’s a unity or a oneness. In spiritual terms, it can be described as the union of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness.

This can understandably make it sound a bit daunting but please don’t be intimidated. yoga is for everyone, it is accessible to all levels of society, gender, age, ethnicity and physical abilities. It promotes inclusion, self-awareness and diversity, which is what this world needs.

It does not matter if you stopped practicing or have never tried it, you can start at any time and your body will remember everything you learn. Yoga is flexible after all.

 

The many different types of yoga

One problem many newcomers to yoga face is which type of yoga they should start with. There are many styles of yoga to try and you should explore as many as you can, but here is a little break down of the main styles;

Vinyasa: This is a flowy style of yoga which allows you to move from one pose to another fluidly in a sequence. It is good for those who like faster paced movements, it’s also great to bring out your creativity when you want to work on a new sequence. It is a good starting place for beginners with lots of energy because it can be fun and invigorating.

Ashtanga: This style is very active, it helps you synchronise your breath with the movement.  Ashtanga is about finding strength in stillness by holding poses for longer than you would with vinyasa. Sometimes these poses are unbalanced therefore it can require a lot of strength and focus to hold them for longer periods of time. There is also a lot of focus on correct breathing techniques.

This is also a good place for beginners as there are many levels of ashtanga, with difficulty increasing with each level.

Yin: This style allows you to go deeper into pose, and also yourself, as it’s a very slow-paced style. The aim for Yin is to increase circulation throughout the joints and to target the connective tissues of the body.

Yin can be tough for newcomers to yoga who may become distracted or lose patience whilst in a pose. Taking the time to practice Yin however can be incredibly rewarding, allowing the mind to relax and ignore life’s pressures whilst lengthening the muscles and opening up the body.

So why try yoga?

Yoga has a wide variety of benefits which supports our pursuit to live a better life. These benefits are not just physical, they can be mental and spiritual too.

Helps with a number of ailments

Yoga is proven to improve your balance and coordination through exercising the nervous system. This heightened activity can build the grey matter in our brain leading to improved focus and concentration. This can help reduce the effects of certain ailments such as vertigo, ataxia and even Alzheimer’s disease, by exercising the nervous system in a safe and controlled way.

It’s good for your body

The movements through yoga practice exercise the whole body through a number of different poses. These low impact but weight bearing exercises activate and strengthen your muscles, bones and joints. This is great for stabilising your weight and avoiding aches and pains.

Supports your inner body

Within our bodies is the endocrine system, responsible for keeping our hormones in check and balanced. When life becomes stressful this system can become unbalanced and leave us feeling tired, irritable or anxious. Practising yoga relaxes the mind and allows this system to regain control and balance our hormones. The exercise can also stimulate happy hormones such as dopamine, melatonin and serotonin, making us feel confident and content, as well as helping us get a nicer sleep.

Finds a steady rhythm in our mind

Though it doesn’t have to be, Yoga can be a very spiritual practice. Good yoga teachers will teach breathing as a part of their class. These yogic breathing techniques can steady the breath, find rhythm and ultimately steady the mind. When we are feeling uneasy our body is using our sympathetic nervous system. Slow and controlled breathing is proven to move the body over to our parasympathetic nervous system. This puts us in a state of relaxation and tranquillity. The more we practise yoga the better our body can achieve this state, massively benefitting our mental health.

Start your yoga journey

A great place to get started if you are unsure is at home following a yoga teacher online. Here is a recommendation for you to try.

Yoga with Michaelle 🙂

Work-Life Balance: How to use Meditation and Mindfulness as the Bridge.

To make a mark at work, to have a buzzing social life, learn something new, spend quality time with friends and family and the list goes on- we want it all sometimes but can never quite master the perfect work-life balanceThe key to this is to slow down by practicing meditation and mindfulness.  

What do BeyoncéOprah Winfrey, Will Smith and Bill gates all have in common? Well, aside from success and wealth, they all swear by meditation and have come forward by explaining how meditating daily has done wonders for their mental well-being. Whether it is to manage stress or simply boost some energy, there is no denying that meditation has become the new go-to wellness ritual. 

Along with meditation, practicing mindfulness also helps with our overall mental as well as physical health. This is when your mind is paying attention to your present-moment flow of experience without commentary, analysis or judgement. Being mindful makes it easier to savor the simple pleasures in life and helps you become fully engaged in whatever you do.   

Here are few tips to help you maintain a healthy mental state of mind:  

  • One-minute meditation  

Meditation in work place

You do not require a certain time of your day to implement a mediation session, you can start by taking one-minute breaks between work by focusing on a calming picture or listening to relaxing music with your eyes closed for a minute while deeply breathing, this will help you reduce your stress levels and help you re-focus on your work.  

 

  • Set boundaries between work and leisure. 

Separating career, work, friends and time

Don’t forget to stop working. One of the hardest parts of work-life balance is defining the boundary between the two. The best way to do this especially when working frohome, is to start by creating a designated space for work. Giving a gap between starting and ending work will help you effectively transition from life to work. Adapting these rountines  in the long run will help your brain to be wired for presence in every context. 

 

  • Reduce multi-tasking: 

Believe it or not, one of the most difficult mind exercises to do is to focus on one thought at a time. Research shows only 2% of people who can effectively muti-task. Practice doing one thing at a time as often as you can throughout the day. When you are not working or studying, remain mentally present for other interactions and activities. Mindfulness saves time and helps you focus on what matters in the present. 

Too many list of tasks to do
Source: Unsplash, captured by Luis Villasmil

For instance, if you’ve decided to take an evening off for yourself, be sure to switch off and relax – don’t half-heartedly skim through a book while watching Netflix just to make yourself feel like you are reading. 

 

  • Schedule tech- free time  

Practicing a daily digital detox will allow you to disconnect from work and enhance your ability to pay attention. Have a go at the 30-Day Digital Detox Challenge by Forbes to help you begin! Be mindful of the time you spend on social media and maybe pick one activity or time every day when you can put your devices away for 15-75 minutes. 

Remember to immerse yourself in whatever you do whether it is taking your dog on a walk, playing with your kids, painting, or eating dinner with family or friends. Consider designating a room or zone in your house where electronics are not allowed to facilitate this daily digital detox. 

Social media
Source: Unsplash, captured by Nathan Dumlao

Its essential that you take time away from your screen each day. Try giving a break mid-way through the day and in the evening to shut down and transition from ‘work mode’ to ‘home mode’. Remember, if you were previously working from a workplace, you would have a bit of down time on the journey in and home and over lunch, so make sure you schedule that time for you if you are currently studying/ working from home. 

  • Take out time to reflect.

Journaling
Source: Unsplash, Captured by Cathyrn Lavery

Journaling can help get all your thoughts out and on paper. Bullet Journalling is a great way to stay organised. It’s worth taking some time to reflect on yourself. Especially since the past year has been so different for all of us, it’s good to pen down how you felt at the start of lockdown, how you’ve dealt with lockdown and how you feel about the next phase.  This will help to ground you, will help to remind you that you are in control of your thoughts and choices, that you can deal with a new and uncertain situation and that you are resilient. To do this, why not arrange a new comfortable place to sit by a window to soak up that sunlight? 

  • Start and end your day for you.  

Reading a book
Source: Unsplash, captured by Callum Shaw

Morning and evening routines are a great way to prioritise your health and wellbeing and give you a greater sense of work-life balance. Save some time for self-care- use the first 15-60 minutes of your day mindfully: exercise, drink water or tea, meditate, stretch, read a book, anything you enjoy doing but just remember to be fully present in the moment. British author, Jay Shetty has some really useful insights on his morning routine video, why incorporating meditation, mindfulness and gratitude is really beneficial.

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The vital part is staying disconnected from work and screens so you not only get a great night’s sleep but you will also wake up feeling restored. The next time you feel yourself stressing out whilst studying or at work, try a few of these mindfulness techniques to keep your mental wellbeing on check. Get the most important tasks done first, focus with greater clarity, and ultimately, become more productive at work. Striking a positive work-life balance is possible, you just need to take the first step.  

 

 

Students I’ve found the key to keeping fit over lockdown and it only takes 10 minutes!

Many students have found their lives taking an immense turn since  Lockdown began. Substituting late night drinking sessions and thought-provoking lectures for Netflix benders and expensive courses taught through a computer screen. This is the stark reality for budding students across the country.

This has meant many of us have had to face the daunting prospect of staying motivated with little structure to our days. A large majority of students have started to complete daily exercise to add a sense of structure and increase motivation throughout their day. However, being locked away in our homes has meant, many of us are unaware or uninspired with how to begin or what to do. A study by Huawei found that 70% of us are walking to get more steps in and keep fit over lockdown.

I was desperate to try something different. To resolve this, I invested my time and a small amount of money into boxing cardio. I completed 10 Minutes of boxing cardio each morning in place of my usual run or weights exercises. This at home workout will help build muscle and save money in comparison to other fitness equipment.

Linda Arslanian, director of rehabilitation services at Harvard says  “Boxing Cardio has many health benefits, because it constantly requires you to think, change your position, and change your posture”

Additionally I found beating ‘7 bells’ out of a punch bag for a few minutes a day can help alleviate an awful lot of pressure and pent up anger you may experience as a result of being cooped up for hours on end.

Here’s a few quick Boxing exercises for beginners that will have you flying like a butterfly and stinging like a bee in no time.

Exercise 1: Punchbag routine

You will need: A PunchbagBoxing Gloves
Begin your routine with 2 minutes of imaginary jump rope exercise or of course a real one if it’s in your inventory, this is how you should begin every exercise. The jump rope helps improves coordination, stamina and focus and is a great way to warm upthe muscles before beginning intense exercise. If you aren’t able to manage 2 minutes then any form of jumping exercises for 30 seconds or longer will suffice.

  • Jab, Cross, Squat
  • X3 sets of 45 Seconds work, 15 Seconds rest.
  1. Face the punching bag in a boxing type stance.
  2. Raise your hands and always remember to keep them positioned as if you’re prepared to punch, also keep in mind they should always be protecting your face, this is key throughout any type of boxing exercise.
  3. Throw 2 consecutive punches, one with your left arm and then cross over with your right.
  4. After completing these punches immediately perform a squat and repeat this process for 45 seconds in 3 sets.

    Exercise 2: Punchbag routine No.2

You will need: A PunchbagBoxing Gloves

This exercise is different from the first one as it involves you completing kicks. To complete an effective kick, stand a legs length away from the punching bag, so your right side is facing towards the bag. Get into a boxing stance, pivot your hips moving the weight to your left foot before lifting your right leg from the floor and keeping your knee bent while completing the exercise.

How to Use a Punching Bag (with Pictures) - wikiHow Fitness

  • Begin with 2 Minutes of Jump rope exercises.
  • This exercise should be done for 80 seconds with 30 second breaks implemented. Complete this routine in 3 sets. This includes:
  1. 10 reps of right side-kicks
  2. 30 Straight punches
  3. 10 reps of left side-kicks
  4. 30 consecutive punches

Exercise 3: Speedbag routine No.1

You will need: A speedbag, Hand Wraps

A speedbag, varies from a standard punchbag. Firstly, it requires a completely different movement when punching. At first this may feel a little awkward, but stick with it. The  speedbag, can be one of the most fun and efficient ways to complete your boxing routine, when done correctly.

The benefits of the speedbag, include constant arm movement, you’ll find the efficiency in working these muscle groups will have you feeling the burn after your workout. Another upshot of the speedbag, is timing, once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be able to work the bag at any speed you wish, as well as working your muscle’s, this will also help you improve your hand eye coordination when commanding the accuracy of your punch.Boxing Speed Ball for sale for improving hand speed and timing - Enso Martial Arts Shop BristolA speedbag, requires you to wear hand wraps instead of boxing gloves. These are available a little cheaper than boxing gloves and available from the Exercise.co.uk store

  • Begin with 2 Minutes of Jump rope exercise’s
  • Prepare your speedbag making sure all creases have been removed form your speedbag and it properly hits the backboard

1. Get into your combative stance

2. Punch the speedbag with your right arm and then consecutively with your left arm.

3. Repeat this routine 20 x (10 x on each arm)

4. Do a total of 24 sets with 10 second breaks between each routine

5. Vary the speed

Exercise 4: Speedbag Routine No.2

This exercise is a power workout and requires you to throw a higher number of regular jabs to slowly increase your hand speed. This will be a great exercise for shoulder and arm endurance, bolstering muscle groups while also improving your punching speed.

1. Set your timer to 30 seconds.

2. Punch at a steady pace

3. Count the number of times you hit the bag in 30 seconds.

4. If the number was 35, attempt to hit the bag another 35 times in a 30 second interval.

5. Increase the number by 2 each time for 6 rounds

When lockdown is over why not take your boxing cardio to the next level, get involved in classes at your local gym or University. It’s a great way to keep fit and learn the key elements of self defence.

I’d love to hear your feedback below and learn if your  boxing cardio experience was as successful as mine. We’d also love to see videos of you in action using our twitter handle @Exercise_co_uk. Make sure to tag our twitter page to be in with the chance of winning a 50% discount off any of our equipment over £100.

You can find our full range of boxing equipment, in the given link.