Pre-competition Nutrition

February 23, 2010

Your diet before a competition will have a big impact on your performance, and could provide you with that winning edge.

The week before:

During the week before a competition, your two main aims are:

  1. To fill your muscle and liver glycogen stores so that you compete with a ‘full’ fuel supply.
  2. To keep well hydrated.

Your preparation will be dictated by the kind of event that you are competing in, the importance of the event and how frequently you compete.

Endurance events lasting more than 90 minutes:

If you are competing in and endurance event lasting longer than 90 minutes you may benefit from carbohydrate loading. You should generally consume a moderate carbohydrate diet (5-7g/kg body weight/day) for the first three days (this should be less than you are used to eating), followed by a high carbohydrate intake (8-10 g/kg body weight/day) for the final 3 days. Use table 1.1 as a guide to the amount of carbohydrate you should be eating during the pre-competition week. Your last hard training session should be completed one week before your competition. Then taper your training during the final week so that you perform only very light exercise and rest the day prior to your competition.

Table 1.1                           Recommended carbohydrate intake for athletes of different body weights
 Bodyweight (kg)                                               Daily carbohydrate intake Daily carbohydrate intake equivalent
                                       equivalent to 7-8 g/kg             to 8-10 g/kg body weight
                                               body weight                         
65                                              455-520g           520-650g  
70                                              490-560g           560-700g  
75                                              525-600g           600-750g  
80                                              560-640g           640-800g  
90                                              595-680g           680-850g  
95                                              630-720g           720-900g  
100                                              665-760g           760-950g  
105                                              700-800g           800-1000g  
110                                              735-840g           840-1050g  



  • Make sure you are fully hydrated after training. Check your hydration status by monitoring the frequency, volume, and colour of your urine during the pre-competition week.
  • Avoid any new or untried foods or food combinations during the pre competition week.
  • If you will be travelling or staying away from home, be prepared to take food with you. Try to find out beforehand what type of food will be available at the event venue and predict any nutritional shortfalls.


Try to eat 6 smaller meals a day, avoid gaps longer than 3 hours, and base all your meals on low GI foods. Use the sample eating plans in table 2.1 as a basis for developing your own plan during the pre competition week. While they provide the requirements for carbohydrate prior to competition, they are low in fat and protein and are not ideal for the rest of the season.

Table 2.1                            Recommended carbohydrate intake for athletes of different body weights
  Breakfast         Breakfast      
1 large bowl (85g) breakfast cereal   4 thick slices toast with honey    
200ml skimmed milk       1 glass (200ml) fruit juice    
2 tbsp (60g) raisins       1 banana        
1 glass (200ml) fruit juice       Morning snack      
  Moring Snack       2 scotch pancakes      
1 banana sandwich (2 slices bread, 1 banana   2 apples        
  Lunch           Lunch        
1 large jacket potato (300g)     1 large bowl (125g uncooked weight) rice  
3 tbsp (90g) sweet corn and 1 tbsp (50g)   salad with 60g turkey or 125g beans and vegetables
   tuna or cottage cheese     2 slices bread      
2 pieces of fresh fruit       2 pieces of fruit      
1 carton low-fat fromage frais              
            Pre-workout snack    
  Pre-workout snack     2 bananas      
1 energy bar         Workout      
  Workout       1L sports drink      
1L sports drink         Post-workout snack    
  Post-workout snack     2 cereal bars      
1 serving of a meal replacement product   1 carton (500ml) flavoured milk    
  Dinner           Dinner        
1 bowl (85g) uncooked weight) pasta   2 large (2x 300g) jacket potatoes  
125g stir-fried vegetables     1 carton (115g0 cottage cheese or fromage frais
60g stir-fried chicken or tofu     Broccoli or other vegetable    
2 slices of bread and butter     1 piece fresh fruit      
1 large bowl (200g) fruit salad              
  Snack           Snack        
2 slices of toast with honey     1 carton (200g) low-fat rice pudding  
1 carton low-fat yogurt              




The day before:

The day before your competition your main aims are:

  1. To top up muscle glycogen levels
  2. To ensure you are well hydrated

Continue eating meals high in carbohydrate that have a low GI throughout the day and drinking plenty of fluids (mainly water). To maximise muscle glycogen replenishment, perform only very light exercise or rest completely. Do not skip your evening meal, even if you experience pre-competition nerves, as this is an important time for topping up muscle glycogen. However, stick to familiar and simple foods, avoid fatty or oily foods and avoid alcohol, as it is a diuretic.

What should I eat if I get nervous before competition?

Most athletes get pre-competition nerves and this can reduce you appetite and result in problems such as nausea, diarrhoea and stomach cramps. If you find it difficult to eat solid foods during this time, consume liquid meals such as meal replacement products (protein-carbohydrate sports supplements), sport drinks, milkshakes, yogurt drinks, and fruit smoothies. Try smooth, semi liquid foods such as pureed fruit (e.g. mashed banana, apple and apricot puree), yogurt, porridge, custard and rice pudding. Bland foods such as semolina, mashed potato, or porridge made from cornmeal or ground rice may agree with your digestive system better. To reduce problems, avoid high in fibre foods such as bran cereals, dried fruit and pulses. You may wish to avoid vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and broccoli). Caffeine can cause anxiety and problems such as diarrhoea when combined with nerves. In essence, avoid anything that is new or unfamiliar. The golden rule with pre-competition eating is stick with tried and tested foods, which you know agree with you.

On the Day:

On the day of your competition, your aims are to:

  1. Top up liver glycogen stores following the overnight fast.
  2. Maintain blood sugar levels
  3. Keep hunger at bay
  4. Keep well hydrated

Plan to have your main pre-competition meal 2-4 hours before the event. This will allow enough time for your stomach to empty sufficiently and for blood sugar and insulin levels to normalise. It will also top up liver glycogen levels. Nervousness can slow down your digestion rate so if you have pre-competition nerves you may need to leave a little longer than usual between eating and competing. The actual timing of your pre-competition meal and the quantity of food eaten depends on the individual despite the fact that studies recommend consuming 200-300g carbohydrate during the 4 hours prior to exercise. Pre-competition nerves often slow down digestion so you may find 200-300g carbohydrate too much.

The key is to find out what works for you and stick with it! For example, if you are competing in the morning, you may need to get up a little earlier to eat your pre-competition breakfast. If your event is at 10.00am, have your breakfast at 7.00am.  Some athletes skip breakfast, preferring to feel light when they compete, however, it’s not a good strategy to compete on an empty stomach, particularly if your event lasts longer than 1 hour, or you will be competing in a number of heats. Low liver glycogen and blood sugar levels may reduce your endurance and result in early fatigue. Liver glycogen is necessary and important for maintaining blood sugar levels and supplying fuel to the exercising muscles when muscle glycogen is depleted. If you are competing in the afternoon, have a substantial breakfast and schedule lunch 2-4 hours before the competition. If you are competing in the evening, eat your meals at 3 hour intervals during the day, again, scheduling your last meal approximately 2-4 hours before competition.

What should I eat on the day of my competition?

Your pre-competition meal should be:

  • Based on low GI carbohydrates
  • Low in fat
  • Low in protein
  • Low or moderate in fibre
  • Not too bulky or filling
  • Not salty or spicy
  • Enjoyable and familiar
  • Easy to digest
  • Include a drink – approximately 500ml 2 hours before the event.


Pre-competition meals:

Pre-competition breakfast (2-4 hours before event)

  • Breakfast cereal or porridge with low fat milk and fresh fruit
  • Toast or bread with jam/honey; low fat yogurt
  • English muffins with honey
  • Meal replacement shake

Pre-competition lunches: (2-4 hours before event)

  • Sandwiches or rolls with tuna, cottage cheese or chicken; fresh fruit
  • Pasta or rice with tomato-based sauce; fresh fruit
  • Baked potato with low fat filling; fresh fruit

Pre-competition snacks (1 hour before event)

  • Smoothie
  • Yogurt drink
  • Fresh fruit
  • Tinned fruit
  • Meal replacement or energy bar
  • Sports drink
  • Dried apricots
  • Low-fat fruit yogurt
  • Rice pudding
  • Mini or scotch pancakes


Should I eat or drink during my competition?

If you are competing for more than about 60 minutes, you may find that extra carbohydrate will help delay fatigue and maintain your performance, particularly in the latter stages. Depending on your exercise intensity and duration, aim to take 30-60g carbohydrate/hour. Start consuming the food or drink after about 30 minutes and continue at regular intervals, as it takes approximately 30 minutes for digestion and absorption. If your glycogen stores are low at the start of the event (which hopefully they are not!), then consuming an additional carbohydrate during the event will have a fairly immediate effect on your performance. Any carbohydrate with high or moderate GI would be suitable but you may find liquids easier to consume than solids. Isotonic sports drinks or carbohydrate drinks (glucose polymer) drinks are popular because they serve to replenish fluid losses and prevent dehydration as well as supplying carbohydrate. Sports drinks are also great because they taste good! This also encourages athletes to be hydrated and take in more fluid than they most likely would if they were consuming water.

If you are competing in certain events such as cycling, sailing, distance canoeing or running, you may be able to take solid foods with you or arrange pick-up points. Suitable foods include, energy bars, dried-fruit bars, cereal bars, bananas, breakfast bars, or raisins. If you are competing in matches or tournaments (e.g. tennis, football), take suitable snacks and drinks for the intervals and position them close by. Make use of every available opportunity to take in fluid to ensure hydration.

Table 3.1               Foods suitable to eat between heats or immediately after events
 Sports drinks            
Meal replacement shake          
Breakfast cereal            
Meal replacement bars or energy bars        
Fruit bars              
Cereal or breakfast bars          
Sandwiches or rolls filled with honey/jam or bananas      
Oatmeal biscuits, fig rolls          
Homemade muffins and bars          
Rice cakes or low-fat crackers with banana or jam      
Yogurt drink            
(accompany solid foods with sufficient water to replace fluid losses)  


If you are competing for more than 60 minutes, avoid or delay dehydration by drinking 125-250ml every 10-20 minutes during exercise. Clearly, the more you sweat, the more you need to drink. However, do not be guided by thirst as this is not a good indicator of hydration. When you are thirsty you are already dehydrated! Studies have shown that you can maintain optimal performance if you can replace at least 80% of your sweat loss during exercise or keep within 1% of your body weight.

What should I eat after competition?

You’ve done the hard work now it’s time to re fuel your body and assist it in the recovery process. So after your competition, your immediate aims are to replenish glycogen stores and fluid losses. If you are competing the following day or within the next few days, your post-event food intake is crucial. Again, choose foods with a moderate or high GI to ensure rapid refuelling, and aim for 1g carbohydrate/kg body weight during the 2 hour post exercise period. Any of the foods listed in table 3.1 above would be suitable. Drink at least 500ml fluid immediately after competing and continue drinking at regular intervals to replace fluid losses.

Your immediate post event food should be followed by a carbohydrate-rich meal approximately 2 hours later. Suitable post-event meals include pasta dishes, noodle dishes, thick-base pizzas (with vegetable toppings), and baked potatoes. Avoid rich or fatty meals (e.g. oily curries, chips, burgers)  as these will delay refuelling and can make you feel bloated after competing. Don’t forget to drink plenty of rehydrating fluid before embarking on that celebratory alcoholic drink!

Table 4.1                                                  Summary of key points      
          Timing              Aims   Food and drink recommendations         Examples
 The week before 1. Fill muscle glycogen Taper training   Pasta with fish or beans
    stores   7-8 g/kg body weight/day for 3 days Rice with chicken or tofu
    2. Maintain hydration before event   Jacket potatoes with tuna
        Low GI meals   or cottage cheese
        Monitor fluid intake and urine    
The night before 1. Top up muscle glycogen High carbohydrate meal (low GI) Pasta dish with tomato
    2. Maintain hydration Plenty of fluid   based sauce
        Moderate-low fibre   Rice dishes
        Low fat        
        Familiar foods      
2-4 hours before 1. Top up liver glycogen Low GI meals   Cereal and low-fat milk
    2. Maintain hydration High carbohydrate, low fat, low protein Bread, toast,
    3. Prevent hunger Easily digestible   sandwiches, rolls
        400-600ml fluid   Potato with tuna or cottage
1 hour before 1. Maintain blood sugar 1g carbohydrate/kg bodyweight Sports drink
    2. Maintain hydration Easy to digest   Smoothie  
              Energy or meal
              replacement bar
              Dried apricots
15-30 minutes 1. Maintain hydration Up to 150ml fluid   Water  
 before             Sports drink
During events lasting 1. Maintain blood sugar 30-60g carbohydrate/hour Sports drinks
more than 60 min 2. Offset fluid losses High or moderate GI   Glucose polymer drinks
        150-350ml fluid every 15-20 min Energy bars with water
Between heats or 1. Replenish muscle and  1 g/kg body weight within 2 hours Sports drinks
events   liver glycogen High GI carbohydrate   Meal replacement products
    2. Replace fluid 500ml fluid immediately after Rice cakes, energy
        Continue fluids   bars, rolls  
Post-competition 1. Replenish muscle and 1 g/kg body weight within 2 hours Sports drinks
    liver glycogen High GI carbohydrate   Energy bars with water
    2. Replace fluid 500ml fluid immediately after Pasta dishes
        Continue fluids   Rice dishes


Hope you find the information yourself. For more great information read Anita Bean’s book “The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition. I recommend it to any athlete who is serious about getting the most out of their training and competition.


Boxing bag Interval Workout

February 17, 2010


Equipment needed:

Boxing Bag

Boxing Gloves

Hand Wraps

Interval Timer

This workout is one I did at home the other night, designed around tabata intervals. For more information on tabata interval training or interval training in general see my previous two posts –

For a quick recap tabata is a form of interval training using the method of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest x 8. This gives you 4 minutes doing any particular exercise you like. Today I’ve used boxing as an example. You can use most types of interval timers but the best I’ve seen is the gymboss application for the iphone.  Best thing about it is that it’s free!! (If you own an iphone)

Round 1:

  • Jab/Cross

Advanced: aim for 20+                           

Intermediate: aim for 15+                          

Beginner: aim for 10+

Round 2:

  • Lead Hook/Rear Hook

Advanced: aim for 20+                           

Intermediate: aim for 15+                          

Beginner: aim for 10+

Round 3:

  • Right Roundhouse Kicks

Advanced: aim for 20+                           

Intermediate: aim for 15+                          

Beginner: aim for 10+

Round 4:

  • Left Roundhouse Kicks

Advanced: aim for 20+                           

Intermediate: aim for 15+                         

Beginner: aim for 10+

Round 5:

  • 3 Punch Timing (use the 4 punches we’ve previously worked on, Jab, Cross, Lead Hook and Rear Hook to create any 3 punch combination you like. If you are a beginner or not so confident punching the bag then pick a set 3 punch combination and stick to that for the entire 4 minutes)

E.g.  Jab, Cross, Lead Hook

Rear Hook, Lead Hook, Cross

Cross, Lead Hook, Rear Hook

Advanced: aim for 20+                           

Intermediate: aim for 15+                          

Beginner: aim for 10+

Round 6:

  • 4 punch timing (use the 4 punches we’ve previously worked on, Jab, Cross, Lead Hook and Rear Hook to create any 4 punch combination you like. If you are a beginner or not so confident punching the bag then pick a set 4 punch combination and stick to that for the entire 4 minutes)

E.g.  Jab, Cross, Lead Hook, Rear Hook

Rear Hook, Lead Hook, Cross, Lead Hook

Jab, Cross, Lead Hook, Cross

Advanced: aim for 20+                           

Intermediate: aim for 15+                          

Beginner: aim for 10+

Round 7: Conditioning Round

  • Push Up + Plank Challenge

 Advanced                   10 push ups

                                    6 seconds plank

                                    9 push ups

                                    6 seconds plank

                                    8 push ups

                                    6 seconds plank

Intermediate:             7 push ups

                                    6 seconds plank

                                    6 push ups

                                    6 seconds plank

Beginner:                    5 push ups

                                   6 seconds plank

                                   4 push ups

                                   6 seconds plank

                                   3 push ups

                                   6 seconds plank

                                  2 push ups

                                  6 seconds plank

                                  1 push up

                                  6 seconds plank

Note: You can either choose push ups from the toes or knees. If doing push ups from the toes your knees shouldn’t touch the ground until you have finished. You can transfer from hands to forearms with out your knees dropping to the floor. This will make it much harder and challenging for you!

Feel Free to choose a number to start on or even try doing this in reverse by starting at 1 and seeing how far you can get.

If this is too easy for you then simply climb your way back up to ten! And yes I mean do it twice!

Have fun!

P.S.  If you want to know more about the benefits of boxing on your health and fitness check out a previous blog entry –

Why anaerobic interval training is the best training method for fat loss

February 12, 2010


Have you ever wondered what the best , most time efficient wat to lose fat is?

Have you been told totally different things about what is the best training method for fat loss?

Read this article from Ultrafit Magazine and it will hopefully clear this issue up for you.

Commonly, interval training has only been used as a time efficient way to increase anaerobic fitness or sport-specific power endurance in the final weeks before competition. However, new research on interval training has shown it to be a very efficient method of fat burning.

Consider some of the following on steady state aerobic training and fat loss:

  • A 1996 study showed that the addition of 5 x 45 minute sessions of aerobic training sessions per week for 12 weeks had no effect on fat loss.
  • A 2007 study showed that 5 x 50 minute of aerobic training per week for 6 months had no effect on fat loss.
  • A 2008 study showed that 3 x 40 minutes of aerobic exercise per week for 15 weeks actually resulted in a fat increase!

 And now consider the following about interval/anaerobic training and fat loss:

  • A 1994 study actually showed that interval training reduced body fat by nine times more than traditional cardio training, despite using few calories during the session and taking less time.
  • A 1999 study showed that the addition of a resistance training program to fat loss increased its effectiveness by 35% over diet and purely aerobic training.
  • The same study showed that 3 x 50 minute sessions of aerobic training for 12 weeks (36 sessions) increased fat loss by only 450g over diet alone.
  • The rise in metabolism after anaerobic training (Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption – EPOC) results in further calories being burnt for up to 38 hours after the finish of the session.


The indicators are clear: this type of information should go a long way in helping fitness professionals design and implement effective fat loss programs. It’s not the workout – it’s the effect of that workout on EPOC.

EPOC is defined scientifically as the “recovery of metabolic rate back to pre-exercise levels”. It can require several minutes for light exercise and several hours for hard intervals.

In layman’s terms it means you keep burning calories at an increased rate after a workout.

If you can imagine a big forest fire, you understand that it doesn’t just burn for an hour and then burn out – it gradually burns out so that over time there is no fire anymore. The peak of the fire may have been a long time ago but there are still flames being produced for a long time afterwards.

We call this the afterburn – metabolic disturbance – elevating EPOC to maximise calorie burn for the 23+ hours per day. Is there much of a real world effect of burning 300 calories per workout (e.g. aerobic work) if we don’t elevate EPOC??

If we could elevate EPOC even an apparently insignificant ¼ of a calorie per minute for the 38 hours that the study showed, then that 31 minute resistance workout would burn maybe 300 calories during the session plus the extra 570 calories over the next 38 hours. That becomes very significant.

In the past, fitness professionals and researchers have looked at how much fat is burned during the exercise session itself. This is extremely short sighted.

As American conditioning guru Alan Aragon said “Caring how much fat is burned during training makes as much sense as caring how much muscle is built during training.”

Think about that. If we looked at a weight training session that started at 9am and finished at 10am – how much muscle would we see built if we stopped at 10am? None.

In fact we’d see muscle damage. We could make the conclusion that weight training does not increase muscle – in fact it decreases muscle, right? It’s only when we look at the big picture – and look at the recovery from the session – that we find the reverse is true – weight training builds muscle.

Fat loss is the same way. Someone talking about the benefits of the “fat burning zones” or “fasted cardio” is a sure sign that the individual has stopped looking at the end of the exercise session. They have come to the conclusion that, lower intensity steady state exercise burns the most fat and made the massive leap of faith to suggest it’s the best for fat loss.

Using that same logic, these same people would suggest avoiding weight training if you want to grow muscle.

Take home message – focus on the afterburn, not just what happens during the exercise session

There is another, more subtle reason why intervals are superior to steady state training.

The body does the opposite.

If you don’t drink enough water your body will retain it. If you drink too much water your body will excrete it.

Article from Ultrafit Magazine

Issue 123 Jan/Feb 2010

The value of one on one sessions with kids

August 18, 2009

I take group training for kids aged 8-12 which mainly includes games and fun circuit based exercises with basic equipment. When you have a group of kids in a resistance based circuit it’s hard to find time to help every out and get them doing things right. Kids between the ages of 8-12 do tend to have a fairly short attention span and by the time they’ve done one or two circuits they’ll start to misbehave. So in a group it’s a tough job to teach everything you want to for each individual as they’re all at different stages of learning and maturity levels.

You may think that all kids love games and all kids want to play with balls and run in the park but this isn’t always the case.

You shouldn’t under estimate the importance of proper training in a safe environment.

  • You have the right equipment to monitor improvements
  • You can progressively overload what they are doing by increase speed, incline, reps, resistance etc.
  • They are in a safe environment with good supervision and knowledge.
  • They often enjoy feeling like an adult. They want to do things that they don’t usually get a chance to do.

The benefits of a one on one session compared to a group session are:

  • The participant gets more guidance from the trainer
  • They can do more advanced exercises because of the increase time the trainer can spend with the individual.
  • Kids like to have your attention; they generally misbehave in a group situation to impress others or to get your attention.
  • They will learn alot more one on one compared to a group session because there are no other distractions.

Overall group training is good fun but kids love having role models and they can look up to the trainer. They want to have their attention and they also want to learn and become better at certain things whether it’s a sport or to just be fit and healthy. They love to try new things and tell their friends these cool things they did. I encourage parents to keep their kids active and get involved with some sort or program, sport, or just walking the family dog! It’s that simple. Just keep it simple and regular. After all, parents are the ones in control of their children. If you teach them early on to exercise regularly they are more likely to get involved with physical education and grow up to be fit and healthy.

Tell me which of these sounds better to you..

Healthy kid who exercised regularly by walking the dog and going for runs on the beach or playing sport in the backyard who grows up fit and healthy and leads a healthy lifestyle because of his childhood experience of exercise.


A kid who wasn’t bought up around exercise whether it be incidental or set execise like walking and playing sport therefore doesn’t enjoy physical education at school, often discludes themselves or gets in trouble. Grows up overweight leading to poor mental and social wellbeing and bad lifestyles choices lead them into such problems as heart disease, stroke and other realted problems.

The message: It’s in your hands – it’s your call

Finding motivation to train – or to commit to regular exercise is tough

August 11, 2009

Finding motivation to train – or to commit to regular exercise is tough – especially if your not self motivated.

If you are someone who would prefer to do anything other than training, these tips may provide added motivation, a switch in exercise mentality or just a few new ideas to jump-start your exercise regime.

*Mix it up:

Running the same track each day or attending the same aerobics class can be physically and mentally draining. You should try and switch up your regime regularly to avoid losing motivation. Changes in scenery will freshen your mind and keep you motivated.

*Make it social:

Training with friends who have similar exercise habits is very motivating. A training partner is the perfect motivation and you can achieve great things together and it also makes your workout more enjoyable.

*Involve children and pets:

If walking or jogging is your exercises of choice then why not involve your children or pets. If their daily dose of exercise relies on you then you will have an added incentive to make sure your getting your daily exercise.

*Be realistic:

Set achievable goals and choose activities you know are achievable especially if you’re only starting out with your routine. If you’re constantly frustrated with your workouts then ensure you review it and find a better option for you.

*Find “non-workout” workouts:

This covers all types of incidental exercise like taking the stairs over the lift and walking to work rather than driving. Aim to make yourself a more active person through little things you do.

*Write it down:

Keep a diary to show improvement and help set fresh goals. Logging what you’ve done and what you’re doing now shows you can improve and gives you motivation to keep improving. It’s also great to help you recognise when a regime isn’t getting you the results you want so this means it’s time to look at what you’re doing and change things up.


If you struggle with exercising regularly then treat yourself when you achieve the goals you set. They don’t have to be long term either. Try not to treat yourself with something that can sabotage your goals such as food but more something that is enjoyable and beneficial like a massage or shopping for some new clothes.


If the thought of exercise put you off a bit then why not join a social sporting team or group or play with friends. Indoor cricket, tennis, kicking the footy. Anything that you find fun and takes the emphasis of exercise is better than no activity at all!

*Distract yourself:

Place a stationary bike in front of the TV, listen to your favourite tunes while exercising, cover the screen on the cardio gear to prevent negative thoughts. Time flies when you’re distracted by something you like.

*If at first you don’t succeed….

Unpredictable events can sabotage the plans of even the most dedicated exerciser. Never give up though. Find ways to overcome these obstacles. If you miss a few weeks in your program then start over again. Keep working hard and always revisit your goals. There shouldn’t be a time where you don’t have a specific goal in your head.

The risks of carrying excess weight

August 5, 2009

Being overweight causes a multitude of health problems: Are you at risk and what can you do about it to prevent these problems from occurring.

Insulin resistance

  • Insulin is the main hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar (glucose) levels.
  • Insulin is secreted from the pancreas in response to elevated blood sugar levels, to remove glucose from the blood.
  • Insulin also plays a role in fat storage.
  • Insulin resistance is where the insulin can’t effectively act on the cells to do it job properly, resulting in high insulin levels in the body.

Type 2 diabetes

  • Type 2 diabetes is categorised by high blood sugar levels, because the body isn’t using insulin properly.
  • Type 2 diabetes usually arises as a result of lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese and inactive.
  • If not managed, glucose levels become too high and become destructive in the body increasing the risk of heart disease, stoke, circulatory problems, kidney damage, blindness, impotence and other health problems.
  • Losing weight and doing regular exercise improve the health implications associated with type 2 diabetes, as well as preventing the disease.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

  • PCOS is a hormonal condition in women, often accompanied by irregular or absent periods, infertility, acne, excessive hair growth or hair loss, weight gain (especially around the mid section) and difficulty losing weight.
  • Women with PCOS are more likely to have insulin resistance
  • Women with PCOS who are overweight/obese and inactive are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

  • Blood pressure is the driving force that moves the blood through the circulatory system.
  • Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80
  • High blood pressure is when pressure exerted by the blood as it’s pumped through the arteries is high.
  • Equal to or more than 140/90 increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.

High cholesterol

  • Cholesterol is a fat related compound naturally produced in the liver, and is involved in many important bodily functions.
  • The problem with cholesterol occurs when we consume too many animal products such as eggs, meat, and cheese which can increase the level of cholesterol in the body.
  • Cholesterol is said to be good or bad: The good guys, HDL (high density lipoprotein), clean your arteries and have a protective effect in preventing heart disease. The bad guys, LDL (low density lipoprotein), are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
  • High levels of LDL are linked to atherosclerosis which is the build up of plaque on the artery walls.
  • Triglycerides also contribute to your total cholesterol score, and are dangerous bad fats and can be higher in people who drink a lot of alcohol and eat cholesterol rich foods such as cheeses, fried foods and biscuits.
  • Your doctor can test your cholesterol and tell you if it’s within the normal range.
  • Regular exercise has been shown to increase HDL and decrease LDL.

Sleep apnoea

  • Sleep apnoea is an interruption of natural breathing patterns while sleeping.
  • People with this sleeping disorder stop breathing for periods of time during sleep, waking up repeatedly as a consequence, sometimes hundreds of times a night.
  • Being overweight increases the risk of sleep apnoea, especially if the weight is carried heavily around the neck area.
  • Sleep apnoea is also linked to an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD)

Lower limb pain and injury

  • Being overweight places enormous strain on the joints of your lower limbs, such as knees and ankles, just imagine loading an extra 20kg or more into your backpack and walking around all day and you might appreciate just how much extra pressure these body parts carry.
  • Joint pain is strongly associated with bodyweight.
  • Excess weight is a common cause for many lower limb injuries such as shin splints, patella tracking disorder and plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the plantar fascia which causes severe foot and heel pain).
  • Being overweight is a risk factor for osteoarthritis, particularly knee osteoarthritis.
  • Reducing your weight will obviously reduce the load placed on your joints therefore decreasing the likelihood of the above problems.

It’s one thing to know your overweight but it’s another to do something about it before it’s too late!

Why care about your weight?

August 3, 2009

It seems that the majority of people are obsessed about weight. We have weight loss TV shows, weight loss or weight gain issues fill celebrity magazines and obesity is a regular headline in the newspapers and on TV.

Weight is directly linked to our physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing. Being overweight or obese puts you at an increased risk of: heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, sleep apnoea, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Your weight can determine your life expectancy, health and risk of disease. The goal of weight loss is to get you to a healthy weight to give you the best chance possible to live a long, happy and healthy life. Losing even a small amount of weight can lead to significant improvements in your physical, mental, emotional and social health.

Weight loss can:

Ÿ            Reduce blood pressure

Ÿ            Lower LDL levels (bad cholesterol)

Ÿ            Reduce risk of chronic disease such as heart disease

Ÿ            Prevent and/or manage type 2 diabetes

Ÿ            Increase your life expectancy

Ÿ            Improve your self-esteem

Ÿ            Increase your energy levels

Ÿ            Prevent and/or manage depression and anxiety

Ÿ            Provide stress relief

Is your weight under control? Check out a previous post to check how you measure up.