Revolution Fitness, Front Page

Is Water REALLY That Important!?

Besides the fact that you’d literally die without it, there are many, MANY crucial reasons to drink water frequently every day. It starts out pretty mild when you might feel thirsty and have a dry mouth, but the long-term effects of not drinking enough water not only have an effect on your weight, but they’re also extremely dangerous and life-threatening.

Here’s what happens to your body…

Milder Symptoms

Even mild dehydration has strong effects. Here’s how you’ll feel with a lack of H2O

  • Fatigue, tiredness, sleepiness
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Mood change, irritability, increased anxiety
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shrivelled skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint aches

Severe Symptoms

If things get worse, so do your symptoms. These are the “go to the hospital” signs.

  • Low blood pressure, with a rapid heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Delirium, unconsciousness
  • Severe diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • Inability to keep fluids down

Underlying Effects

Not drinking enough water for an extended period of time has its effect as well. Although you may brush off the milder side effects, your body is still suffering – and several of these have a significant bearing on weight gain.

  • Low water, slow metabolism. Your body’s ability to remove waste and detoxify is inhibited. In addition, your metabolism is slower without water.
  • Increased hunger. When you’re somewhat dehydrated, your body confuses it for hunger, causing you to eat when you don’t need to.
  • Slowed circulation and irregular temperature. Your circulatory system suffers, and your equilibrium is totally out of whack.
  • Digestion problems. That constipation we talked about becomes a regular thing. Not fun, and definitely not great for weight loss!
  • General fatigue. Same goes for your energy levels. You’ll constantly feel tired, unwilling/unable to exercise, and unable to concentrate.
  • Increased blood sugar. Your body needs water to break down sugar. If you’re diabetic, this is especially dangerous.

Severe Long-Term Effects

Now for the worst of it. Yes, it’s terrible that dehydration can make you gain weight, or prevent you from losing it, but there are some bigger issues at hand. If you’re truly neglecting your water intake, this should likely help you get on track. Here’s what happens to your body when you don’t get enough water.

  • Heat injury
  • Brain swelling
  • Seizures
  • Hypovolemic shock
  • Kidney failure
  • Coma and death

Now, after that; let’s just think twice before grabbing a glass of sugary coke rather than H20…

 

 

 

 

 

References:

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l~ohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l-ch6~ohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l-ch6.1

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/why-is-water-important

https://www.livestrong.com/article/366016-why-is-water-important-in-a-humans-daily-life/

 

Can You Be Too Lean For Pregnancy!?

I was in complete shock after attending my 36-week midwife appointment last Tuesday. Fortunately, everything is perfect with Bump and myself, but it all started when I had to be weighed for my referral for the Birthing Suite at the West Suffolk Hospital … Can you see where this is going yet? I’ve sustained a healthy weight of 57kg (just under 9 stone) for about 4 years now, so when a new number popped up on that scale 3 stone more than I was 8 months ago, I suddenly felt a massive lump in my throat and walked out the surgery venting my frustration to friends and AP. I mean; it’s not like I’ve stopped exercising or even eating poorly – so why the hell have I put on three stone!? Then I thought to myself, hang on a moment, how much of this is actually baby, water retention, placenta, amniotic fluid, and increased body fat specifically being stored to create another human and potential breast feeding!? Some women would kill to be in my position and go to great lengths to even conceive. Rewind nine years ago, I myself, suffered from secondary amenorrhea for a few years, which meant my body wasn’t in a position to ovulate or even have periods, which meant back then, I too, didn’t think I would be able to have children. However, when my nutrition bettered and increased, my periods started flooding back in my early twenties which of course lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. This leads me on to this week’s Rev blog regarding how diet and even exercise can affect your fertility…

As we all know too well, hormones are extremely sensitive and complex within the body. If we’re too overweight; we disrupt our reproductive system by producing too much Oestrogen veering our way to an early menopause, yet on the other side of the spectrum, if we’ve got a very low body fat percentage; our Luteinsing hormone which triggers Oestrogen, isn’t produced causing the standstill of ovulation and even the production of the hormones Oestrogen and Progesterone all together! Now, this blog isn’t about being underweight, it’s actually about taking the ‘Strong-not-Skinny’ aspect to a whole other level, longing for that desire to get incredibly lean to a point where a women’s body is under 17% body fat. When following a strict diet and extreme exercise regime, the body perceives us to be in a stressed state and decides that we’re not in a position to reproduce any time soon, so effectively shuts down the signals from the brain to the ovaries.

Like I mentioned before, I’m not just focusing on undereating, the problem can also arise when nutritional variation and BMI (Body Mass Index) comes into play. We all know that BMI doesn’t take into account muscle mass, which compared to fat is 80% water instead of the 5-10% that is in fatty tissue. What I’m getting at, is that even an incredibly lean athlete with very little body fat, can actually be placed in a normal range within the BMI method due to their weight being increased via the amount of muscle they have compared to their fat … Crazy isn’t it? So, hang on, this doesn’t seem to be fair, does it? To be the best at something takes dedication, commitment and time, yet by doing this it can also affect a women’s natural ability to conceive. According to the Female Athlete Triad, 65% of female long distance runners have irregular cycles, yet with the training they need to do to become the best it clearly impedes the gain of body fat. We can’t bloody win by the sounds of things…

Nowadays, women in their early twenties are thought to be the main concern in regards to being too lean to support pregnancy. Why? Well, with partying, bikini’s and white skinny jeans, the last thing on their minds is motherhood! For those young women who do endure intense training and not enough nutrition to support their energy expenditure, their body fat will significantly decrease affecting menstruation and like anything, the longer that they’re in this ‘stressed state’, the longer it will take to rectify itself, or in some sad cases in even rectify at all.

So, when is getting too lean a risk even before menstrual cycles become irregular or even non-existent? Well, the body is an amazing thing. If it doesn’t think we have enough body fat, it creates a little more body hair in places for insulation, drop in sex drive, and even scheduling your whole entire life around exercise and meal prep, are also mental traits that shows someone is too focused to get unhealthily lean for future developments. However, like most things, loss of periods through too little body fat IS reversible. You just need to catch it in time – I did, and here I am three stone heavier at 8 months pregnant, excited to get down to my healthy and optimum weight the healthy way … The Rev.Way!

 

 

References:

Female Athlete Triad; http://www.ivf1.com/female-athlete-triad/

https://www.fertilityauthority.com/blogger/cindy-bailey/2010/12/21/you-need-body-fat-conception

https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/how-exercise-affects-fertility/

https://www.arcfertility.com/body-fat-exercise-and-fertility/

 

 

 

Detox Teas. Do They Work? And, Are They Actually Safe!?

So, this week’s blog was inspired by a very close friend and her although VERY funny, yet embarrassing and unhealthy experience in which she shared with myself and a few others the other week…

We’ve all heard about it, or even been personally interested in the well-known; ‘Detox Tea’, ‘TeaTox’ or “Cleansing Tea’ diets. They are advertised EVERWHERE! Whether it’s social media, TV adverts, health shops, and magazines. And funnily enough almost always advertised by drop dead gorgeous ‘Z -Listers’, which must be one of the main reasons why so many women are drinking these detox tea’s frantically to shed those unwanted pounds. But do they actually work? And more importantly are they healthy or just dangerous? Let me dive in to it a little deeper….

Like anything, ingredients vary from brand to brand, and Detox Teas are normally sold as part of a ‘7, 10 or even 30 day programme’ with the intention of reducing weight significantly and ridding your body of harmful toxins. At first glance, the average ingredients list of a detox tea’s looks pretty harmless; including; Chinese oolong tea, ginger, and ginseng, all of which have been around for years and are completely natural. However, ‘Senna’ will then crop up in the ingredient list. Senna is a herb containing man-made chemicals called ‘Sennosides’, which irritate the lining of the bowels, activating a laxative effect, and medically approved for treating constipation and emptying the bowels before surgery. This surely can’t be good if you’re all okay and flowing in the ‘pipe’ department right!? Arguably, if you’re buying a bulk load of laxatives in their original form, those around you and even the shop assistant, would have a worrisome and concerned look upon their faces? Well, why not the same with these ‘Detox tea’s’ programmes then?

Aside from the obvious inconvenience of spending most of your time on the loo, unnecessary laxatives will almost certainly hinder your physical health. By speeding up the transit of any food you consume in your intestine, it also means that you’re less likely to absorb the beneficial energy we gain from food, and the main reason we actually need it, leading to nutritional deficiencies. It’s not only the embarrassing duration of time you’ll need the loo, but by depriving your body of nutrition it could trigger your body to go into dehydration and starvation mode, leading to the complete opposite effect of weight GAIN when you stop drinking the teas. Unfortunately, regular use of these teas can also eventually lead to an eating disorder, which can be very challenging to overcome due to its mental affects and not just physical.

So before reaching for this unhealthy and dangerous resort, just remember, we’ve all been blessed with the top-of-the-range built-in toxin destroyer which is our Liver! If we make sure we follow a balanced diet with healthy fats, and a regular bout of weekly exercise, our metabolism and hormones will be kept at an optimum level, allowing fat loss and most of all health and wellbeing to be a lot less expensive than effectively man-made laxatives! I say the Rev-Reboot has a much more successful rate at reducing fat and keeping it off …. Don’t you think Revvers?

 

 

References:

Give Me a Reason Why Woman Store Fat More So Than Men?

It’s a mystery that has confused us women for years of our apparent ability to store fat more than men, despite eating somewhat fewer calories! It seems like we get all the short straws in life doesn’t it!? So why DO we store more fat? Well, alongside some studies, Rev explains one (yet amongst others) reason…

From an energy balance point of view there is no explanation why women should be fatter than men, particularly since men usually consume more calories daily. So, what else can it be? Well, a recent research review from the University of New South Wales, has shown a link between the hormone; oestrogen, and its impact on fat storage for childbearing. Before puberty, the two genders have a similar percentage of body fat, yet after puberty and on average, women normally have up to 6 to 11% more body fat than men. Studies show that Oestrogen reduces a woman’s ability to burn energy after eating, resulting in more fat being stored around the body. Why? Well, if it’s to do with Oestrogen, the likely reason is to prepare women for childbearing. Professor Anthony O’Sullivan, from UNSW’s St George Clinical School, suggests that this fat storage after puberty is the groundwork for fertility, foetal development and even lactation. Oh, the joys!

However, hold it right there! Oestrogen is NOT the reason why some store fat in excess, resulting in obesity! This is NOT an excuse to binge or become ‘lazy’ with your nutrition. Do you actually know what healthy really feels like if you’ve been supplying yourself with the wrong kind of nutrients? Healthy fats and fresh produce can restore hormone imbalances within the body and can lead you to a healthy weight in which you can feel confident and happy with. I mean, all you Revvers know and feel it now right!?

 

 

 

References:

  • The Obesity Code, Jason Fung
  • Why Do Women Store Fat Differently from Men? Professor Anthony O’Sullivan, UNSW’s St George Clinical School
  • Revolution Fitness Academy Reboot, Adam Prescott

 

The 5 Most Underrated Exercises Rev DOESN’T Take For Granted!

All you have to do is Google it, and you’ll find hundreds of moves and variations of exercises for those ‘trouble spots’ that we all just want to send packing … However, we’re all different and those trouble spots are more than likely the last to go! So why spend hours upon hours in the gym trying to perfect these complex moves that you try so hard to do, that may not actually be beneficial to a total body workout? Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated! Especially when you’re trying to start or even continue to do so by yourself. To be honest; the more complicated an exercise actually is, often the less muscle engagement you have, therefore decreasing the effectiveness of the whole movement. Sometimes we’re so caught up in focusing on our trouble areas, that we tend to forget about the “old-school” exercises like push ups or squats, which have been around for years and years! And why? Because they work!

So, what are they?

Squats:

As all members know too well, whenever a Rev-Coach demonstrates a squat they explain the term ‘functional movement’. We actually do it all day without knowing; picking up the kids, lifting heavy groceries, sitting in a chair and standing up or even hovering over a public toilet that isn’t the nicest. It’s a squat! Plus, squats actually strengthen the muscles around the knees and lower back.

So, let’s Perfect it!

Start off with your bodyweight until you perfect your form, then add weight…

  1. Engage your abs, which will stabilize your low back and help prevent back pain.
  2. Push your butt back, hinging at the hips first, then bend your knees to lower toward the floor. Allow your knees to travel forward. It’s ok if they move past your toes, but don’t go too far — your torso and lower leg should be parallel.
  3. Lower as far as you can without compromising this alignment, making sure the arches of your feet don’t collapse inward.

PressUps:

Rev-members know all to well that press-ups can done anywhere and at anytime! The best thing about them is that they can be modified in so many ways allowing to be practised from beginner to advanced, and even work multiple muscle groups at the same time!

So, let’s Perfect it!

  1. Go slowly to maximize your muscle engagement. For example; lower on a count of 3 or 4, then presses back up on a count of 1 or 2.
  2. Perform pressups, not pulses. Rather than banging out tons of reps where you only lower and raise an inch or two, focus on getting a good range of motion. Start at the top with your elbows almost locked and lower until your chest is about an inch or two away from the ground. Then push back up. Now that’s a real pressup!
  3. Modified knee pressups count and they actually help increase the range of motion. Once you can do 10 good knee pressups, try doing one or two regular pressups. Keep adding more as you gain strength, and soon you’ll be able to do a set of 10 with ease!

Glute Bridges:

If you stopped doing glute bridges because you don’t feel them in your glutes but rather in your hamstrings, low back or front of your thighs — you’re them wrong! But that’s no reason to abandon this exercise because, when performed with good form, it’s an effective way to build that longed for stronger booty!

So, let’s Perfect it!

Think of it as peeling yourself off the mat, rather than lifting everything off the mat at once.

  1. Tilt your hips to reduce the space between your low back and the mat.
  2. Lift just your bum cheeks off the mat but DON’T lift your back just yet!
  3. …Now lift your lower back! J
  4. Finally, lift the middle of your back off the mat, which puts you at the top of the glute bridge.
  5. Return to the starting position, reversing through all four steps one at a time.

Try performing glute bridges like this; slow and steady for a week or two, and then return to your normal pace. Hopefully, by then you’ve retrained your body of the new technique of using your glutes.

Saving my favourite for last .. 🙂

Star Jumps or Jumping Jacks!

I now, I know; reminds you of your old PE class when you were 10 years old, or even a cheesy old fitness video when you were forced to do star jumps as part of the warmup. But there IS a perfectly good reason why, and not to just make you look completely stupid! This old-school move gets the heart pumping and temperature rising – which is exactly what you want!

Numerous star jumps include a rapid and big, range of movement in both the upper and lower body, resulting in almost every muscle working.

I’m not going to go through the steps of a star jumps – as I now more than anyone you won’t continue reading this blog, but why not mix these bad boys up a little and get that brain working as well by mixing up your arm and leg patterns, alternating between some or all of the following:

  1. Perform a basic jack, but alternate lifting one arm at a time.
  2. Give yourself a squeeze: As you jump your legs like normal, alternate between opening your arms to opposite sides and then crossing them in front of your body, almost like you’re hugging yourself
  3. Perform the leg movement of a normal jumping jack while moving both arms to the left and then to the right (rather than up and down). This way you have to fight the urge to rotate your torso.
  4. Rather than moving your arms and legs up and down along your sides, lift and lower them in front of and behind you. You can either move the opposite arm and leg together (Eg; your right arm goes forwards as your left leg goes backwards) or move the same arm and leg together (Eg’ your right arm and leg both go forward as both the left arm and leg move backward)
  5. Pretend you are holding a jump rope and, with bent elbows, move your arms in the shape of an infinity symbol. Then hop side to side, both legs to the left, then to the right, keeping your feet about shoulder-width apart.

Get Up and GO!

It’s a lot harder at 7 months pregnant, but I’ve always said to myself; ‘If I work out early morning – my brain doesn’t have time to think what I’m about to do, leaving me no choice NOT to back out or find another excuse … (like I have one at 7am anyway …) I don’t know why, but I’ve always been a ‘early-exerciser’, after a long day at work, the LAST thing I want to do is work out! Personally, I think it’s the best time to exercise if it can fit in with your daily schedule, but I know some people (AP included) find it hard to get up and workout straight away, and trust me – I’ve been there before! You go to bed with the best intentions to get extra that shut-eye to get up that tad bit earlier, however when 6am turns up and your alarm is ringing, it’s dark outside, and the thought of emerging from your snuggly duvet is far from appetising. Training can wait until this evening, right? (Although deep-down you know that’ll never happen). The excuses keep coming and suddenly the snooze button has been hit! Which leads me to this week’s #RevBlog; suggesting some of my top tips to motivate yourself to start your day off with a Rev-Sesh or even something individual!

Get Straight Up!

I know it’s easier said than done – and to be honest this tip doesn’t really help you but whatever you do, don’t hit the snooze button! Set ONE alarm ONLY and aim to be out the door within 10-15 minutes of waking! It gives you less time to think about the fact that it’s cold outside or work-up excuses not to train. Just focus on that ‘buzzing; feeling you get after a Rev-Sesh instead! And even better still – you know you’ll be home straight after work, allowing yourself a relaxing evening! J

Keep Your Workouts Short and Snappy!

This is where a Rev-Sesh is PERFECT! A 45 minute Fat-Blast! And you don’t even have to think and prepare yourself to what to do as our Rev Coaches has it all planned out for you! Mwhahah! Also, you actually only need to set your alarm 45 minutes earlier than usual.

Preparation!

Lay your clothes out the night before, and if you’re like me; pop them on the radiator so they’re nice and warm when you pop them on! Gone are the days of swim training for me late evening and using the same damp swimming costume at 5am! Urgh! Makes me shiver just thinkning about it! Lol! Anyway, back to the point – clothes being laid out will make it easier to get dressed when you’re half asleep and will save you time rummaging through your wardrobe!

Keep Thinking Of YOUR Goal!

Why did you join Rev? Why are you exercising? Exactly. Just never forget that results don’t happen overnight! This is always enough motivation to get up I think!

Get a Training Buddy!

This is one of my favs! I even had a Rev.Member last week ask if she could swap sessions to coincide with another member’s as they found out they enjoyed working out together and spurring each other on! Also, you don’t want to let them down at 07:00am!

Find Your ‘Jam!’

Whether you’re driving, walking, or cycling to the gym or even better a Rev-Sesh, get yourself pumped and in the zone by listening to your favourite song! We all know our very own AP’s one is “ACDC – Back in Black” when it’s blasting out all ready for our members at 0630am!

Mix It Up!

Again, ANOTHER reason why Rev is perfect! Different work outs obviously include a different tempo, speed and even strength work to your exercise regime. Why is this so effective than running every morning? Because your body will respond to the changes and you’ll see results more quickly, and even better – you’’ never get bored… especially at Rev that’s for sure!

Does Eating Fat, Make Me Fat!?

Does eating extra fat via ‘Fat Bombs’ and Bulletproof Coffee make you fat? Here’s the short answer. Yes and no. – Not the answer you wanted I know, but let me explain …

If you are naturally slender, then eating fat will not make you fat. If you are obese or overweight then yes, I’m afraid eating more fat will indeed make you fat – and it has NOTHING to do with those blasted calories!

If you’ve read my previous blog regarding the Ketogenic diet, those that undertake it are actually encouraged to eat their majority of calories as fat. However, this needs to be ‘real food’ and only consumed until they feel full. Unfortunately, some people have taken this to mean that they should add extra fat to everything they eat! Hence the rage of ‘Fat Bombs’, which are treats or foods with very high fat content, or even ‘Bulletproof Coffee’, coffee with the addition of extra oil be it MCT or coconut. What I’m trying to get at, is that there has been some people who find this slows down weight loss and others that feel it does not. So, what the hell is happening?

Insulin is the major driver of weight gain. When you gain body fat, the body responds by increasing secretion of a hormone called leptin, which tells the body to stop gaining weight, and preventing us from becoming too fat. Interesting fact: this is actually a survival mechanism, because obese animals who cannot move properly will get eaten. So, to put it bluntly; why doesn’t it work for us? Well, insulin and leptin essentially are opposites. One tells the body to store body fat and the other tells it to stop. If we continue to eat fructose, causing insulin resistance and persistently high insulin, then we will also persistently stimulate leptin. Like all hormones, a persistently high hormone level leads to decreased hormonal receptors and the development of resistance. So, constant high leptin levels eventually lead to leptin resistance, which is exactly what we see in common obesity. So, lean people are leptin sensitive and obese people are leptin resistant. … Are you still with me?

The Physiology of Eating Fat

Let’s now think about the physiology of eating dietary fat. Remember there are only two fuels for the body; you either burn sugar or you burn fat. When you eat carbohydrates or excess protein, it goes to the liver, through the portal vein and stimulates insulin, which tells the body to start burning sugar, and stores the rest as glycogen or fat.

Dietary fat, on the other hand, does no such thing. To cut the process short – it’s absorbed in the intestines and then into the blood circulation, and NOT the liver. From there it goes into the fat cells to be stored. In other words, the fat does not affect the liver, and therefore does not need any help from insulin signalling and goes directly into fat stores.

So, surely what I’ve just said DOES mean that eating fat makes you fat? No, no at all. Let’s take a lean person, who remember from my third paragraph, is obviously leptin sensitive. As they eat a lot of fat, it will get stored into fat cells, but their insulin doesn’t go up. As fat mass goes up, leptin does as well. Since the lean person is sensitive to leptin, they will stop eating in order to let his body weight go back down. Even if you force-feed them, their metabolism ramps up to burn off those extra calories. Not fair, is it? So, what happens if an overweight person overeats fat? Now, the situation for an obese, leptin resistant person, is that as they eat lots and lots of fat, their insulin does not go up, however, that ‘fat bomb’ does indeed go directly into their fat stores. It then responds by increasing leptin levels in their blood. But here’s the difference. Their body doesn’t care! Why? Because it’s resistant to the effects of leptin, so even their metabolism doesn’t bother ramping up, their appetite doesn’t bother decreasing, and for sure NONE of the beneficial weight loss effects of eating that ‘fat bomb’ happens. And yes, you will need to eventually burn off that extra fat you’ve taken in. Pointless!

The practical implication is this. If you are lean and leptin sensitive, then eating more dietary fat, like cheese, will not make you gain weight. However, if you are trying to lose weight, and have some problem with obesity/ insulin/ leptin resistance, then adding extra fat to your meals is NOT a good idea. Obesity is a hormonal, not a caloric, imbalance, which is why we keep on about the nutrients of foods and not counting calories. It’s all about what triggers and spikes insulin.

If you want to know more about how certain food positively and negatively affects you, it’s all in the introduction of the Rev-Reboot!

 

References:

  • The Physiology of Fat Loss
    Mike Deyhle, Christine Mermier, Ph.D. and Len Kravitz, Ph.D.
  • https://www.livestrong.com/article/527281-does-the-body-store-fat-like-carbohydrates/
  • Jason Fung, M.D., Diet Doctor.

 

 

How Hypermobility Can Affect One Exercising.

While I was trying my best to do some sort of exercise with a 7 month-bump attached to me, I saw one of our members last week working out independently alongside Rev. We went on to speak about an injury she’s been putting up with and it spurred me on to write a blog on hypermobility and how it can affect us when exercising.

As all past and present ‘Revver’s’ know, we go on, and on about mobility in relation to recovery. Foam rolling, resistance band work and even that love/hate relationship with self-massage with that cricket ball we have stashed away, are all perfect for mobility routines and helps us loosen up after numerous sessions from strengthening muscles. However, there is such thing as being TOO mobile, and while it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it can actually affect the way you workout in some important ways.

Before I go on, what does the term mobility actually mean? “Mobility refers to a range of motion of a joint. It is influenced by the relationship between your bony articulations (joint structures) and the soft tissue (muscle, fascia, tendons, ligaments), as well as your central nervous system.” So, after reading this explanation you guess it’s just another word for flexibility? Well, actually no it isn’t! Flexibility refers only to the soft tissue. You see, each joint has an “optimal” range of motion, and if you can somehow exceed the ideal range of motion for a particular joint, it means it’s hypermobile.

So how do you know if you’re hypermobile or not? Well, apart from the obvious by being told by GP’s and Physio’s after diagnosis, you can actually test for it by yourself using something called the ‘Tim Beighton Score’, which uses a simple nine-point testing system. Let’s see how it’s calculated then shall we …

  • Score yourself 1 point if you can fold forward with your legs straight and place both your palms on the flat on the floor.
  • Score yourself 1 point for each elbow that can bend backwards.
  • Score yourself 1 point for each knee that bends backwards.
  • Score yourself 1 point for each thumb that when pushed backwards can reach your forearm.
  • Score yourself 1 point for each little finger that bends backwards past 90degrees.

How did you score? Generally, a score of four or higher indicates hypermobility. It’s always best if you can get a friend to help score you with your knees and elbows.

Hypermobility is definitely gender orientated, and even though there are very hypermobile men out there, it’s much more common in women. One explanation for this from the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, is that females undergo a lot of bone and muscular changes that create the joint laxity.

Okay, so getting to the main reason for this blog – what does this all actually mean with regards to exercise and working out? Well, firstly, under no means does it stop someone from being active! It’s just an added hurdle to be safe within physical activity, as unfortunately, those with hypermobility tend to lack proprioception or awareness of where their body and joints are in accordance to the space around them, which can lead to injury in and out of the gym. And to be honest; most people don’t actually have major complications from hypermobility, but there is a syndrome called Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, which refers to when hypermobile joints causes chronic pain to the individual. This syndrome is relatively rare and is not the same thing as simply having hypermobile joints.

So let’s have a look at a few things we can do and incorporate in our exercise regime for those that may be prone to hypermobility ..

Avoid The ‘End Range’ Of a Movement:

For example, maintaining a micro bend in the elbows at the top of a pushup rather than fully extending the elbows. This helps prevent joints from reaching that overextended position that makes you more vulnerable to injury.

Skip Stretching:

When ligaments and tendons aren’t working properly, the surrounding muscles work double time to protect them. In the sport and exercise science world this is called ‘protective tension,’ which is why a hypermobile person may feel tight. That feeling of tightness may make you want to stretch, but it can actually make things worse by overstressing the hypermobile joints causing the tension. So instead of stretching just use a foam roller instead.

Understand That Everything Is Connected:

We need to think of our body as one connected unit, what I mean by this is that you should avoid putting emphasis on joints you know are hypermobile and instead focus on strengthening your body as a whole. For example, if you lack core strength, you may find your ability to reach overhead is limited. Lack of core strength may lead to poor posture, which would affect your shoulder mobility and so on … If you can focus on strengthening your weak areas, it may help reduce stress on the joints.

Don’t Train To Complete Fatigue:

The more fatigued the muscles get, the less they are able to stabilise at a particular joint. Instead of going all out and pushing past your limits every session you do, the focus should be on technique and quality over quantity.

Incorporate Isometrics:

Training effectively means we must work to improve stability in our joints first, and the best way of doing this is through isometric training (AKA Dave sessions!). For example, holding halfway down in a push-up position for 10–15 seconds 1–3 times instead of performing a set of 10 regular pushups. This helps to rewire how our brain views our joints during exercise and helps create stability in the joints under tension. Doing this will make a big difference in how your body handles being hypermobile by creating strength and stability where it needs it most which is near the joints!

 

 

References:

http://hypermobility.org

https://thesports.physio/2012/08/19/hypermobility-and-sport/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/556301-the-best-worst-activities-for-hypermobile-joints/

https://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c3044

https://www.physio-pedia.com/Beighton_score

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11039638

 

 

Pull Ups. Let’s Break Them Down … Rev.Style!

Ever caught yourself gaping at those lifting themselves up to an 8ft bar at the gym just wishing you could do the same thing? Well, why can’t you? Don’t know where to start? Read on and you’re sure to end up showing everyone in the gym your new trick!

Step 1: Jump from a Bench or a Box:
Why? What’s this got to do with a pull up? It’s all about getting used to holding your weight at the top of the bar – That’s all we want you to do to start off with! Whilst using an underhand grip keep you neck straight and your shoulders down, squeezing your shoulder blades together and hold. Remember; practise makes perfect on all steps! Perseverance and patience!

Step 2: Hold and Lower:

Once you’re comfortable at step 1 in holding your weight at the top of the bar, move on to lowering yourself down steadily. It’s VERY important that the movement is controlled. Keep your spine aligned and try not hunch your shoulders around your ears. Engage your back and core as well as your arms.

Step 3: Add a Resistance Band:

Using a looped theraband on the bar, hook your knees and practise the complete move. Ensure you keep your form and don’t rely too heavily on the band. The level of resistance can be changed until you are able to do your first pull up, unassisted without the theraband! And BOOM! You will be on your way to pull up after pull up! J

Spinach. Why We LOVE It So Much!

Recently, superfoods have taken the spotlight everywhere! We’re constantly turning to the next big trend to determine what we should be eating be it algae or a fungus! But what about some of the healthiest foods that we overlook and take for granted that are in front of us every day and don’t break the bank when it comes to purchasing them? Let’s talk about good ol’ Spinach!

  1. Anti-inflammatory and Rich in Antioxidants.

Spinach contains chlorophyll and high levels of carotenoids such as beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Collectively, these phytochemicals are anti-inflammatory in nature, and can even help prevent cancer. The anti-inflammatory properties of spinach make it good for the heart, and it can help reduce the kind of inflammation that damages blood vessels.

Spinach is also rich in flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can boost immune function and also prevent cancer.

  1. High in Key Nutrients.

Spinach is rich in iron, fibre, and potassium. The high iron content gives you energy and the strength to weight train and otherwise support your new healthy lifestyle. The fibre keeps you feeling full and satisfied. The potassium content is good for your heart, reducing blood pressure and protecting against common conditions like hypertension.

The best part is that while spinach is high in all of these nutrients, it’s low in calories, containing just 23 calories per 100 grams. It also contains 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of protein per 100-gram serving, making it a healthy food that you can easily add to any meal.

  1. It’s Versatile.

Aside from all of the health benefits, spinach is an incredibly versatile health food! Though not entirely flavourless, it easily adapts to virtually any dish and cooks down so as not to overpower your favourite meals.

Here are some simple ways to incorporate more spinach into your diet:

Smoothies – if you regularly drink smoothies, adding spinach is a tasteless way to add nutrients. Add a handful whenever you can!

Stir fries – if you stir fry protein with some other vegetables, adding spinach is tasteless. Because its water content is so high, you won’t even notice it.

Soups – most soups contain vegetables and, whether it’s a lighter soup or one that’s heartier, you can add spinach for a kick of fresh flavour!

Omelettes – add spinach to your heart-healthy egg-white omelettes for some extra vegetables.

Sauces – you can chop spinach roughly and add it to most sauces, including marinara and even pesto.

Spinach is a great way to bulk up meals with nutrients without bulking up the calories! It’s also a simple way to get the nutrients you need, reduce the number of calories you consume, and support your weight loss and health goals!

 

 

References:

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-spinach.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=43

https://draxe.com/spinach-nutrition/