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Making a successful diet change

Changing your diet can be tough. No matter what your goal is, you will find that there are so many different approaches out there and every single one of them claims that they are the best. It can be confusing, frustrating and disheartening – the media telling you different things every day, and if you look it up online… Well, they all seem to think their way is the only way.

But do you really have to cut all carbohydrates? Should you eat less fat? Eat more vegetables and plant-based foods? What is flexible dieting and IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros)? Is bread really bad for you? What about smoothies and juices – is it really better to juice those greens and vegetables? Should you eat breakfast or try intermittent fasting?

We are going to break it down to give you some simple, concise points to take with you so that when you look at your diet you know exactly how you can make improvements.


The basics

A diet consists of macronutrients (what you need a lot of: carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (what you need in small amounts: vitamins and minerals). Each one of these components are essential to your body and should be consumed in the correct proportions.

  • Carbohydrate is the body’s immediate source of energy and is used throughout the initial phases of training.
  • Protein is required to promote muscle development and growth.
  • Fat provides the body with insulation, is a long-term energy source and is required for the manufacture of certain vitamins.
  • Your micronutrients maintain your body and are vital in maintaining your health. Vitamins and minerals are found in all food types, particularly in fruit and vegetables.

Image by Sohee Lee @soheefit

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Navigating the Sea of Diets

There are a lot of different diets and diet approaches out there. Low-carb, paleo, intermittent fasting, flexible dieting (IIFYM), ketogenic diets, low fat diets, and “clean eating” are only a few of them. It can be very difficult to understand which one you should choose. The thing is; it is highly individual. What works best for you might not be the best approach for someone else.

Many of the diets above have good, solid evidence from research studies. Why? Because the individuals in these studies consistently followed the diets they were prescribed.

For example, if you were to examine whether a diet is efficient for weight loss you give the participants dietary instructions and regular follow-ups to keep them consistent with the prescribed diet guidelines. This will result in them losing weight as long as they are a) in a calorific deficit and b) consistently following the specific dietary guidelines. Every diet works, as long as you can stick to it.

The best diet is the one you can maintain in the long run. 

You need to reflect on what your preferences are and what your lifestyle allows you to do. For example, if you are married and have three children it might be difficult to track calories as you would need to weigh everything you are eating before you cook it – and make sure you do not eat more than what you measured. It is not impossible to track your calories as a parent, but there are better, more sustainable options out there for you.

Image from Google Images

Be cautious to completely remove certain foods from your diet (e.g. gluten, dairy products) just because your friends have stopped eating them or because someone on the TV said they are bad for you. If you suspect that a certain food is making you feel unwell, try to avoid eating it for a few weeks to see if it makes you feel better. It might also be worth visiting your GP for a blood test to see whether you could be allergic or have an intolerance towards this certain food.

Similarly, stay clear of quick fixes and fad diets. They tend to work in the beginning, but are increasingly difficult to follow long-term as they are usually quite extreme.

To make it easier to commit to a healthier diet, you might be better off beginning with smaller, more easily maintained changes instead of committing to a diet which involves making big or extreme changes to your current diet.

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Changes

Even though there are so many diet approaches (or diets) available out there, most of them tend to have three common factors:

  1. They are all encouraging people to eat more vegetables,
  2. choose lean protein sources and increase protein intake, and
  3. eat less processed foods.

And these are essentially the first three changes we would recommend everyone to commit to when wishing to change your diet for the better.

 

 

The Plate Model: fill 1/4th of your plate with a lean protein source, 1/4th with a carbohydrate source, and 1/2 with greens or vegetables. (Image from Google Images)

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This is how you successfully change your diet:

  • Find out what you want to achieve and why.
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  • For a few days or up to one week, write down what you eat and when. This will increase your dietary awareness and you will realise where you can make improvements. Sometimes it is hard to realise how much – or little – you are eating, and writing down your food intake over a few days might give you an eye opener.
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  • Start by making no more than two-three minor changes to your current diet. Do you find it hard to figure out where to begin? Ask yourself these questions:
    Are you eating enough food?
    Do you eat enough vegetables?
    Do you often buy lunch? If so, could you be prepared in a better way and start bringing a healthier lunch option to work?
    Could you be eating more regularly throughout the day?
    Do you eat a lot of sweets or crisps, and could you limit that to one night a week?
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  • After three-four weeks of successfully incorporating these small changes, reassess and decide where to focus your attention next. However, do not forget to stay on track with your previous changes!

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If you still find it difficult to make specific changes to your current diet, you should aim for a colourful plate where a source of protein makes up 1/4th, a carb source 1/4th and greens/vegetables make up 1/2 of the plate. Alternatively, think of the protein source as being the size of your palm, carb source the size of 1-2 fists (depending on goal) and vegetables the size of 2 fists.

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Good luck!

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Healthy regards,

The Result Team

Holiday Workouts – Part 2

We are continuing our holiday training series with four cardio sessions perfect for your summer holiday! If you have not yet read last week’s post, you can do so by following the link below:

Holiday Workouts – Part 1

.. Or check out the videos on our Instagram profile here:

The cardio sessions follow the same guidelines as the body weight sessions. There is no need for fancy equipment which means you can do them anywhere and they are easy to do alone or with friends. The sessions last between 20-30 minutes and will definitely make you break a sweat and put a smile on your face.

Keep an eye out on our social media platforms over the next few weeks to see videos of the summer holiday cardio workouts brought to you by Luke, David and Jo!

At the end on June, we will provide you with a PDF file where you find all the sessions from out holiday workout series and further instructions – all ready to come with you on your holiday. The PDF will also be available through our Facebook page.

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Session 1 – Kate’s Summer Cardio pyramid workout

Completed with a combination of a Result coloured themed arm band, sunglasses and plenty of sunshine – in the true spirit of summer!

Do:
10 x burpees
9 x squat jumps
8 x split lunge jumps
7 x jumping jacks
6 x plank jacks
5 x push ups
4 x knees to squat
3 x tuck jumps
2 x 180 jumps

Rest for 1 minute and work your way back up!

See the video of Kate’s session on our social media platforms:

 

https://www.instagram.com/resultfitnessdurham/ 

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Session 2 – David’s Tabata session

Instructions: Set a tabata timer on 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, for 6 rounds. Do each exercise for 30 seconds until all are completed. Repeat for 4 rounds.

Runners skip – left leg
Runners skip – right leg
Ski jumps
Surfer get ups
Plank pike jumps
Gate swings

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Session 3 – Luke’s park workout

Instructions: On beach/ grass: set up two rocks 10m apart.

Do 10 sprints between the rocks followed by:
10 crunches
10 push-ups

Short rest before repeating all of the above, but 9 repetitions this time. Work your way down to 1 rep of each.

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Session 4 – Jo’s card game

Jo’s favourite when on holiday! It is easy, tough and so much fun with friends!

You need: A deck of playing cards.

Instructions: Choose four exercises: one for clubs, one for spade, one for hearts and one for diamonds.

Start pulling cards out of the deck of cards and let the numbers on the card decide how many reps and the suit decide which exercise you are performing. Try to play your way through the whole deck of playing cards with as little rest as possible.

Play with a friend and cheer each other on while doing every rep together, or share the work load evenly between you.

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Have fun!

Healthy Summer regards,
The Result Team

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Holiday Workouts – Part 1

The holiday season is just around the corner, and we are leaving the gym behind for beaches, walks, sun, and relaxation. When on holiday, exercise is often not a priority and that is OK – after all, you are on holiday. Lying on a beach somewhere instead of going to the gym should not make you feel bad or guilty, and it is not the purpose of this blog to make you feel that way. However, we know some of you out there wish to stay active on a holiday and struggle to find ways to do that, and we want to help you!

If you wish to exercise when you are away to keep fit or to make the transition into the gym easier when you get back, there are a lot of things you can do without access to a gym. In this blog, we provide you with a few quick and easy sessions you can do anywhere with little or no equipment needed. The sessions last between 15-30 minutes, and are suitable for everyone, from beginners to the more advanced.

First out is body weight sessions you can easily do without access to the gym.

Next Sunday we will give you 4 cardio sessions and a PDF file with all the workouts. In the meantime, you can find videos of the workouts on all our social media platforms. Stay tuned!

Image from Google Images

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Session 1: Jo’s Full body circuit

You need: 2 full water bottles, a playground/swing set

With as little rest as possible between exercises, do:

10+10 split squats (advanced: back foot elevated in swing)

8-10 kneeling plank walkouts

10-12 body rows (advanced: pull-ups/chin-ups)

8-10 superman push-ups

12-20 unilateral side raises w/static hold on opposite side

Rest 1 minute. Repeat circuit 3-5 time.

Video of the session can be found on our Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/resultfitnessdurham/

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Session 2: David’s AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible)

Do:

10 inch-worm push-ups

10-20m walking lunges

10 Russian twists

10-20m bear crawls

10 dorsal raises

10-20m frog jumps

Complete as many rounds as you can in 15-20 minutes.

Video of the session can be found on our Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/resultfitnessdurham/

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Session 3: Kate’s Upper body Summer circuit

You need: A bench, low wall, or step

Do:

10 decline push-ups (or normal push-ups)

10 Tricep dips (preferably higher step than in video)

10 plank rotations (either side)

10 plank knees to chest (either side)

Repeat 4 times with as little rest as possible.

Video of the session can be found on our Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/resultfitnessdurham/

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Session 4: Jo’s Legs & Glute session

You need: A bench, sofa, bed, sun bed or step

First, do:

10+10 deep reverse lunges w/knee raise
8 1 1/2 rep sumo squats
10+10 Bulgarian split squats (advanced: add a jump)

Repeat the above exercises two-three times with as little rest as possible. Then do:

10-40 Elevated feet glute bridge
20-30 Fire hydrant (either side)
12-20 single leg hip thrusts

Repeat two-three times.

Video of the session can be found on our Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/resultfitnessdurham/

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Stay tuned for more next week!

Healthy regards,

The Result Team

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A basic guide to supplements – Part 2

Before you go and buy any supplements, you should make sure that you do not have any health problems or medical issues that could make it difficult for your body to, for example, digest your supplement (e.g. liver / kidney dysfunction). Additionally, do your research or ask an instructor so you know you are choosing a high-quality brand and are not wasting your money. Always follow the instructions provided on the product packaging.
 

Pre-workout

  • What is it?
    Pre-workout supplements are usually a blend of several different ingredients, among them caffeine and creatine.
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  • What are the advantages?
    The purpose of pre-workout is to increase blood flow, increase your heart rate, and your focus/ alertness. These physical effects will not help you increase muscle mass, but will give you a boost of energy before and during your workout.  Most supplements are likely to contain caffeine, creatine and beta-alanine, and sugar. Whether there are benefits or not from taking these supplements are uncertain, but it is likely to have a greater psychological than physiological effect on performance – and if you really need to take a stimulant to perform during your workout it might be time to make some changes.
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  •   Who might benefit from it?
    It is unclear whether they have any benefits at all. Nevertheless, there is a possibility that you might benefit from a pre-workout supplement if your nutrition is not ideal and you need more energy during your workouts. For example: a boxer trying to fit into a lower weight class but has intense workouts.
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  • Timing:
    20-30 minutes before your workouts.
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Take-home points: Pre-workout supplements are designed to give a physical boost before a workout, often caused by high levels of caffeine and great amounts of sugar. (Also note that caffeine can worsen underlying conditions such as a heart arrhythmia, so make sure you stick to the recommended dose.) Instead of drinking a cocktail of different ingredients you might be better off choosing a different supplement – very likely with better effect (if size and adding muscle is your main goal). However, if you do decide that it is for you, make sure you go with a high-quality brand.
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Pre-Workout – Image from Google Images

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Glutamine

  • What is it?
    Glutamine is another essential amino acid that improves muscle growth and athletic performance. It is a primary source of energy for your immune system.
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  • What are the advantages?
    Glutamine supplements can minimise muscle breakdown during intense exercise and improve strength, stamina and recovery. It helps maintain cell volume and hydration, and speeds up recovery. Glutamine is also an important nutrient in maintaining intestinal function and gut health.
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  • Who might benefit from it?
    Bodybuilders and other athletes might get the most out of taking a Glutamine supplement, but regular gym goers could potentially benefit from it too.
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  • Timing:
    In the morning, before your workout and at night before you go to bed.
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    Take-home points: Glutamine is a safe supplement that prevents muscle loss and athletic performance. It may boost your immune system by avoiding depletion of the Glutamine levels in your body after heavy or long workouts. Glutamine is often added to other protein supplements, so check the labels of your supplements to be certain before incorporating Glutamine.
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    Glutamine powder – Image from Google Images

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CLA

  • What is it?
    Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a mix of several different essential fatty acids and belongs to the Omega family of fatty acids. It can be found in common animal products, like meat and dairy.
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  • What are the advantages?
    It has been suggested that CLA in combination with a good diet and exercise regime can help decrease body fat through biomechanical reactions that act to increase the basal metabolic rate. It is also proposed that CLA can enhance muscle growth.
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  • Who might benefit from it?
    If you are looking to reduce your body fat percentage, a CLA supplement might be of help.
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  • Timing:
    To be consumed with meals, 1-3 times daily.
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    Take-home points: It is not a miracle pill and does not guarantee neither weight nor fat loss. However, research have suggested that a CLA supplement can effectively reduce body fat and enhance muscle growth when combined with a healthy diet and an exercise regime.
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    CLA – Image from Google Images

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Multivitamins

  • What is it?
    Multivitamins provide you with a range of different essential vitamins and minerals.
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  • What are the advantages?
    Multivitamins can effectively strengthen your immune system, and provide the body with the nutrients it needs to recover and/ or prevent illness. It helps ensure proper nutrition, especially if you have certain dietary requirements or restrictions. It is also proposed that multivitamins improve energy levels and cognitive functioning, and prevent negative stress responses.
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  • Who might benefit from it?
    Everyone could benefit from a multivitamin supplement, but especially older people (to improve cognitive functioning), students (improved energy levels and prevent negative responses to stress), pregnant women (higher nutritional needs because they are also supporting the nutritional needs of the baby), people in a calorific deficit and athletes.
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  • Timing:
    Preferably with a meal that includes a source of fat (like egg, omega3, fish, avocado, butter, oil), as the body’s ability to absorb certain vitamins improves when they are consumed with fat.
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    Take-home points: Multivitamins strengthen the immune system and is a good way of ensuring that the body gets the micronutrients it needs. Try to take it at the same times every day, with a meal that includes a source of fat.
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    Multivitamins – Image from Google Images

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Omega 3

  • What is it?
    Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid found in foods like nuts and fatty fish.
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  • What are the advantages?
    It is an important component for a well-functioning nervous system, as well as being important for eye health, the development of the brain and a healthy heart. It has been shown to reduce inflammation. Omega 3 could increase the body’s ability to burn fat, and adding Omega 3 to a diet has been shown to improve protein synthesis. On a cellular level, it is a component of the cell membrane makes the membrane softer.
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  • Who might benefit from it?
    Everyone, but especially children as their brains are still developing and people with specific dietary requirements or restrictions which eliminates a lot of the sources for Omega 3 and Omega 6. People with arthritis, fibromyalgia and other inflammatory diseases might experience some relief/improvement when incorporating Omega 3. It has also been shown to have potential positive effects for hypertension.
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  • Timing:
    Any time, but best consumed with food.
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    Take-home points: An Omega 3 supplement is important for the functioning of the nervous system, eye health, brain development, a well-functioning and healthy heart, and a normal blood pressure. Consume at the same times every day, preferably with a meal.

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Omega 3 – Image from Google Images

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That is it for our basic supplement guide!

Remember that healthy, unprocessed foods can never be replaced by supplements like powders and pills, however, supplements might be helpful depending on your current diet and nutritional needs.

If you are spending £200 on supplements every month and has little money left for proper food, you are doing it the wrong way.

A supplement should be exactly that; a supplement – not a replacement for normal foods.

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Healthy regards,

The Result Fitness Team

A basic guide to supplements – Part 1

Are you confused about supplements? Are you wondering what these different supplements actually do, when to take them or if you even need to?

Choosing the right supplement for you and your needs can be hard; Especially with a wide range of products and brands. We have put together a quick guide to the most common supplements that are out there, what the advantages are, who might benefit from incorporating them, and when to take them.

Before you go and buy any supplements, you should make sure that you do not have any health problems or medical issues that could make it difficult for your body to, for example, digest your supplement (e.g. liver / kidney dysfunction). Additionally, do your research or ask an instructor so you know you are choosing a high-quality brand and are not wasting your money.

This is the first part of the supplement guide, the second coming out next Sunday.

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Protein powder

  • What is it?
    Protein powders come in many different forms. The three most popular types are whey, soy and casein protein. Whey protein is the most commonly bought protein and is made by separating the two proteins that you find in milk; whey and casein.
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  • What are the advantages?
    Protein will aid muscle recovery, can help you increase muscle mass and may also be useful if you are looking to lose weight or body fat percentage. Protein powders contain all nine of the amino acids necessary for human dietary needs and is therefore a complete protein source. It is possible to get sufficient protein through a normal diet without having to spend money on protein powders, but for some people it might be more convenient, practical and less stressful to incorporate protein powders.
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  • Who might benefit from it?
    If you are training regularly, a higher intake of protein will benefit your training and your progress.
    Athletes who are recovering from an injury frequently need more protein to help them heal.
    If you are changing to a vegan or vegetarian diet you eliminate some of the most common sources of protein in a normal diet. A vegan or vegetarian protein powder might be beneficial.
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  • Timing:
    Can be taken at any point during the day, but will be especially beneficial to time it before or after resistance training.
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    Take-home points: A protein powder is a convenient and easy way of upping your overall protein intake, or to refuel your body after a training session. It is versatile and can promote both weight loss and increase muscle mass, and will help your muscles recover after a session. Make sure you choose a product that reflects your training goals.

Protein powder Image: http://optimalperformance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Depositphotos_66953141_original.jpg

 

 

Creatine

  • What is it?
    Creatine is produced from amino acids and is naturally produced in your body as well as being found in protein-rich foods. However, since you would have to eat a lot of these foods before your body obtains an appreciable amount of creatine, taking a supplement is an efficient way to increase your creatine intake.
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  • What are the advantages?
    Creatine can increase muscle strength, size and power output through regenerating a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is your body’s main source of energy. Creatine increases the available fuel to power ATP, which increases production of ATP and increases your energy. By helping to replenish the fuel (ATP) within the muscle cells it can allow your muscles work harder and improve performance, muscle strength and size.

    Image:
    https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/creatine-fact-and-fiction_02.jpg

  • Who might benefit from it?
    Useful for athletes – especially sprinters, swimmers, soccer players, football players.
    Long-distance runners may not benefit from supplementing with creatine, as creatine is found most effective in exercise and events where you need to generate a lot of power quickly, in a short time frame (e.g. in sprints).
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  • Timing:
    Two general recommendations:
    Before your workout as it increases strength.
    After your workout because it is better absorbed after training.
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Take-home points: Creatine Monohydrate is an inexpensive, safe and beneficial dietary supplement that can help you increase muscle strength, size and power. It will especially benefit you as an athlete.

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BCAA

  • What is it?
    Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCAAs) are made up of the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. (Essential = meaning your body does not produce them and they need to be incorporated in your diet).
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  • What are the advantages?
    BCAAs stimulate protein synthesis and can help promote muscle growth, and repair and reduce muscle soreness after a workout. They have not been found to significantly improve athletic performance; however, BCAAs will help you recover faster after an intense session.
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  • Who might benefit from it?
    Athletes and other people who exercise regularly.
    Vegans and vegetarians could benefit from a vegetarian-friendly supplement since they avoid eating meat and other foods where these essential amino acids are usually found.
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  • Timing:
    Try to time it around your workouts.

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Take-home points: BCAA will help you recover from intense sessions and promote muscle growth. They are especially helpful if you have high training frequency and/ or tough, intense sessions.

BCAA, Image:
https://gymjunkies.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/BCAA.jpg

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Stay tuned for the second part of the supplement guide coming out next week!

Healthy regards,
The Result Fitness Team

Training for fat loss

Hi everyone!

Following our hypertrophy blog is this guide on training for fat loss. As you continue reading, please keep in mind that there are many ways to Rome – and only you know what is most efficient for you. There are several different components to fat loss, and you might need to change more than your training in order to see the results you want. If you feel stuck, ask an instructor for tips and further guidance.

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Training for fat loss

Weight loss equals fat loss?

A common misconception when trying to lose weight is the idea that a pound is a pound, but in reality it is not that simple. The body consists of many different components: your skeleton, soft tissues like muscles, and organs, fat, and water.

People who say they want to lose weight or tone up often mean that they want to reduce body fat. Toning up means enhancing your muscles by reducing body fat percentage – but in reality, it also requires you to maintain or increase your muscle mass. A common weight loss strategy is to adopt a strict diet combined with a lot of cardiovascular training, and sure, this approach will result in weight reduction. However, this reduction comes from from losing fat and muscle tissue.

Ideally, you want to minimise the amount of muscle mass lost whilst dieting because:

1) Muscles are important both for athletic performance and everyday functioning (lifting your son/ daughter from the floor, carrying heavy boxes),

2) Strong muscles play a crucial part in injury prevention and pain relief,

3) Muscle tissue requires more energy to maintain compared to fat tissue and will therefore help you burn more calories, and

4) As a bonus, you will look better and more ‘toned’.

Therefore, it is beneficial to maintain your muscle mass as much as possible when you wish to lose weight – or reduce body fat!

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Resistance training for fat loss

Cardiovascular training is known as an efficient road to weight loss. However, only focusing on cardiovascular activities means your body begin to use muscle tissue as fuel during exercise. It is true that cardiovascular exercise burn more calories per time unit, but in cardiovascular exercise there is not a very high need for a lot of muscle mass and thus you will end up losing muscle. When you incorporate some resistance training into your schedule you are telling your body “I need these muscles to get through the day” and by doing so your body starts looking elsewhere for fuel – it starts to burn fat instead. [1]

Image from Google Images

 

Ditch the scale

Incorporating a resistance programme might not result in any changes on the scale; you may even find yourself gaining a little weight. Before you panic and become the new king or queen of the treadmill, think about this:

Muscles weigh something, just as fat does. Losing 1 kg of fat while gaining 1 kg of muscle does not affect the scale – but it will affect the way you look. Similarly, gain more muscle than you lose fat and you will be looking at an increase in weight.

Do not rely on the scale to reflect your progress; if your jeans are less tight than they were a month ago and you have gained ‘weight’, it’s likely that the extra weight is not fat. Instead, focus on how you look in the mirror. If you want to be specific, taking measurements and pictures every few weeks can be a good way to track your progress.

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Afraid of the bulk? Ladies, this one is (especially) for you….
  1. Training specifically for fat loss and training to put on muscle mass are separate things and the structure of the training programmes will be different. Resistance training will not suddenly turn you into a ‘bulky’ woman with shoulders so broad you cannot get through the door and legs that don’t fit into your skinny jeans. Furthermore, when you are wanting to reduce your fat percentage you will be eating quite different compared to someone looking to increase muscle mass.
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    If you are one of the very few women whose genes allow you to put on muscle more easily, the change will not happen overnight: if you feel like you are beginning to look big, it can be easily reversed by changing the way you train. As with anything, increasing muscle mass to the point where you look ‘bulky’ takes a lot of time, dedication, hard work, specific training, and a lot of food.
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  2. Girls produce very little testosterone, so gaining and maintaining a large amount of muscle mass is much tougher for females than it is for males.
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  3. And last, but not least, remember that 1 kg of muscle demands less ‘space’ than 1 kg of fat – meaning it is possible to gain weight but at the same time look smaller.
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So, I only need to spend time in the gym to shed fat?

Spending time in the gym is crucial and training will get you a long way, but your diet is equally important and you need to spend some time in the kitchen too. Weight loss and reduction of fat percentage is best controlled and maintained through your diet choices. [2] There is no need to be super strict with your diet, but you might want to make a few simple and consistent changes like avoiding processed foods and eating more vegetables. Burning calories at the gym every day will help you reach your goal, but not if you compensate by eating away your deficit every evening. However, too big a deficit makes it hard to add muscle and will also make it harder to push yourself during your training sessions.

Image from Google Images

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Cardiovascular training

You should incorporate some cardiovascular training. Cardiovascular exercise is very important as it trains the most important muscle of them all; the heart. Cardiovascular exercise will also help you stay lean, especially if you opt for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Since cardio burns more calories per time unit compared to resistance training, it is a great way of burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Therefore, if you are in a hurry, it may be a good idea to choose a high intensity cardio session over a resistance session.

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Now, the specifics

Feeling a little overwhelmed? Read below to find out exactly what you need to do:

  1.    Do resistance training 2-5 times a week. If you are new to resistance training, you will likely see quick improvements. If you already do resistance training regularly you will have to work harder and maybe do more sessions every week. You should:
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    .          a)  Keep rest short between sets.
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    .          b)  Have a medium to high rep range (between 10-20+) to ensure sufficient muscle stimulation.
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    .          c) Supersets, trisets and giant sets are beneficial as your goal is to use as much energy as possible
    .         during the session. Try to choose exercises where active muscle groups do not overlap:
    .               Squats and shoulder press
    .               Reverse lunges and push-ups
    .               Chest press and row
    .          This way, the muscles that are involved in the first exercise rest while you do the second exercise –
    .          meaning you do more work in less time and need less rest (which equals more calories burnt
    .          overall).  It also allows you to put in similar amounts of effort for every set, as compared to doing
    .          a superset involving the same muscles (e.g. chest press and push-ups). Super-sets with exercises
    .          using the same muscles are also effective, but it means that your ability to perform on the second
    .          and third set is drastically reduced due to fatigue.
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  2.    Make sure the programme is manageable – both in terms of logistics (avoid doing squats in superset with lat pulldown if that means you need to run back and forth across the gym), and time.
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  3.     Incorporate some cardiovascular exercise to keep your heart healthy, to burn those extra calories, and to aid fat loss.
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  4.     Eat healthily and focus on getting a lot of vegetables and protein. However, carbohydrates are important too so do not avoid eating them!
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  5.     Ditch the scale and go with how you look!

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Images from Google Images

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Good luck!

The Result Fitness Team

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References:

[1] Effects of strength or aerobic training on body composition, resting metabolic rate, and peak oxygen consumption in obese dieting subjects. (Geliebter et al.)   –  http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/66/3/557.short

[2] A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of exercise training versus hypocaloric diet: distinct effects on body weight and visceral adipose tissue. (Verheggen et al.)   –   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27213481

Featured images from https://images.google.com/

A quick guide to Hypertrophy training

 

Note: This is highlighting the basics of hypertrophy training, and focuses on getting the best effect of your training in the shortest amount of time – basically how you can achieve the most amount of muscle growth within a given time frame. But, of course, there are many ways to Rome and this is not the only way to get the results you want!

Hypertrophy training – what is it and why should you focus on it?

Hypertrophy training is when you train to increase muscle mass. Muscle growth occurs through micro tears in the muscle fibres during training, which leads to stronger and bigger muscles as these tears repair themselves. Most people would benefit from putting on lean muscle mass, even if their goals are motivated by preventing (or improving!) pains related to postural stress or incorrect posture, injury prevention in general, becoming stronger, or purely for aesthetic reasons. Whatever your goal is, muscle hypertrophy is something many men work hard for and many girls fear. But how easy is it to “get massive” and how do you need to train to get there? After reading this, I hope women realise that gaining size is not as easy as you believe, and that others looking to increase muscle mass understand better which areas they can improve on. After giving you a short introduction to hypertrophy training, there are specific examples included at the end to further guide your training.

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How should you train to achieve maximal muscle growth in the shortest time possible, and what can you expect?

The (very boring) answer to the first question is: it depends. It depends on your starting point, previous training background, eating, and your DNA. Some people respond very well to a given amount of exercise whereas others gain nothing from the exact same amount as the previous group. For some, it is a huge achievement to gain 4-5 kg of muscle in a year, even when working really hard towards increasing their muscle mass, other individuals can easily put on 4-5 kg over a 3-4 month period if all other factors allow for it.

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How should you train to increase muscle mass?

Periodisation
Varying your training has shown to be the most efficient way of getting results. Periodisation is when you plan your training in phases where you focus on different things – you are, in a controlled manner, introducing variety to your current training. This sounds like a lot of work – and it is in the beginning – but you can make it as complicated as you need or wish for it to be. Usually, the different phases stretch over a few weeks each, but they can also vary from week to week or even day to day. An example is shown at the end of the blog post.

Time under Tension (TUT)
For resistance-based training, most people consider repetitions (reps) to be the most important factor. However, TUT should not be underestimated and in many cases, it is the time you spend doing the exercise (how long time you spend on one set) which is crucial to muscle growth. Hypertrophy is optimal if TUT is between 40-70 seconds – however certain individuals can easily achieve muscle growth with both higher and lower TUT than the above. Again, how you respond to exercise and different training methods is highly individual!

Volume
If you are new to resistance training, you can come a long way by doing 3 sets per muscle two-to-three times a week. The more ‘exposure’ you have to training, or the more advanced you get, the need for higher volume (amount of exercise) increases. Thus, to keep progressing, your muscles require either more frequent stimulation (read below) or a higher degree of stimulation once you are accustomed to doing the current amount of exercise. The easiest way of increasing your training volume is by doing more sets or more repetitions per set.

Frequency
How often you should exercise is, again, highly individual, and additionally your personal life and other circumstances also tend to factor in. Famous bodybuilders swear by training each muscle once a week, but recent research has shown that the normal person in the gym quite possibly gets better results from training each muscle group 2-3 times a week.

Repetitions (rep/reps)
The standard rep range is usually between 6 and 12 reps per set, but can in some cases be less and in others more. The weight should be at least 60% of what you are able to lift for one rep (60% or your 1RM, meaning that if you can squat 1 rep with maximum 100kg, you should not be lifting any less than 60kg for a set of 10-12 reps).

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But there is more to it than that..

In addition, you need to get sufficient rest and eat enough food for optimal muscle growth to occur within a given time frame.  Rest is important so that your muscles have time to recover properly between sessions, and are capable of doing the work in your next session. It is also an important element to prevent injuries. Eating enough food is also crucial if you want to put on as much muscle as possible. You should at least consume more calories than your body burns during a day, factoring in activity level and other exercise.

To sum it up: You need to lift heavy enough, with high enough frequency, and have sufficient variation between volume and intensity; making sure you get enough rest and also fuel your body with enough food.

Keep reading to see two examples, and do not forget that you can ask any member of staff for more information.

Healthy regards,
The Result Fitness Team

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Here two examples of hypertrophy training schedules:

Alternative 1 – basics: you want to choose exercises yourself but need an example frame work
A training week looks like this:
Day 1: Chest and back
Day 2: Legs
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Shoulders and arms
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Full body
Day 7: Rest

Week 1-4: Giant sets (small circuits)
Choose 4-6 exercises per muscle group and do them all straight after each other without rest. Rest 2 minutes between rounds with 3-5 rounds in total.
Example (leg day): Squats with elevated heels 10 reps, Squats (flat) 10 reps, Hack squat in machine 10 reps, Split squats 10 reps each leg, Leg press 10 reps.

Week 4-8: Modified angle training
Choose exercises where you can do different variations of the same exercise (for example variations in grip). Do 4-5 series of each variant and alternate between opposite muscle groups. Rest 2 minutes between each set.
Example:
A1. Chest press (narrow grip) 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps
A2. Bent over row (narrow underhand grip) 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps
B1. Chest press (normal grip) 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps
B2. Bent over row (overhand, normal grip) 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps

Week 8-10: Circuit training
Choose 10-12 exercises per muscle and do them all in a circuit without rest. Rest 2 minutes and repeat three times.
Example:
Bench press x 10
Flat bench dumbbell press x 10
Dumbbell flyes x 10
Incline dumbbell press x 10
Incline dumbbell flyes x 10
Freemotion decline chest press x 10
Freemotion decline chest flyes x 10
Tricep dips x 10
Overhead tricep extensions x 10
Pushups x max reps

Week 10-12: German volume training
Do 10 sets of 10 reps of each exercise, and choose 1 exercise per muscle group.
Example:
A1. Squats 10 sets x 10 reps
B1. Leg extension 10 sets x 10 reps

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Alternative 2 – specifics: if you want a specific plan
Split your body in upper and lower, and alternate between them. Each week should have at least 4 training days, so that you train upper and lower body twice each week. For example:
Monday – day 1
Tuesday – day 2
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – day 3 (same as day 1)
Friday – day 4 (same as day 2)

Phase 1: Volume (week 1-4)
Day 1 and 3
A1. Incline dumbbell press 4 sets of 6,8,10,12 reps (1st set 6 reps, 2nd set 8 reps etc).
A2. Chins (neutral grip) 4 x 8-10 reps
B1. Decline dumbbell press 3 x 10-12 reps
B2. Single arm dumbbell row 3 x 8-10 reps
C1. Bicep curl 3 x 10-12
C2. French press 3 x 8-10

Day 2 and 4
A1. Squats 4 x 8, 10, 12, 15 reps
A2. Hamstring curls 4 x 8-10 reps
B1. Lunges 3 x 15-20 reps
B2. Romanian deadlifts 3 x 10-12 reps
C1. Standing calf raises 3 x 20
C2. Hanging leg raises 3 x 15-20

Phase 2: Intensity (week 4-8)
Day 1 and 3
A1. Chest press 6 x 4,4,6,6,8,8
A2. Chins 6 x 4,4,6,6,8,8
B1. Incline dumbbell press 4 x 5-8
B2. Bent over rows 4 x 5-8
C1. Scott curl 3 x 5-8
C2. Dips 3 x 5-8

Day 2 and 4
A1. Front squat 5 x 4-6
A2. Hamstring curl 5 x 4-6
B1. Bulgarian split squat 4 x 5-8
B2. Good mornings 4 x 5-8
C1. Standing calf raise 3 x 8-10
C2. Freemotion cable crunch 3 x 8-10

 

Breaking the barriers to exercise – time

If it is one excuse that is being used by the majority of us several times a week, and not only in relation to exercise, it is time. We simply do not have the time to do anything anymore. The hours we have to spare after work tend to fly by so fast they feel more like minutes, and there is a never-ending to-do list that seems to grow as the days go by.  Time, or rather lack of time, seems to affect the population like a fast-spreading disease.

Especially when it comes to exercise, lack of time tends to be one of the greatest excuses for not training or committing to joining a gym. The thing with exercise is that it is so easy to prioritise it when you have already established good habits; finding time to exercise when you are hooked is rarely a problem. In contrast, it can be truly difficult to setting time aside for exercise when you have not even started.

As to the big question: Do you have time? I dare say you do!

Let us look at the big picture. There are 168 hours in one week. If you are working full-time, your work commitment would average at approximately 45 hours per week, including some travelling to and from the workplace. Assuming that you sleep the recommended 8 hours every night, that would take away further 56 hours every week. And finally, let us estimate that family, chores and other commitments take up 35 hours per week, about 5 hours every day. All of the above sums up to 136 hours. That leaves you with 32 hours left every week. So, whether you schedule 3 training sessions a week at 45min-1 hour (equals 3.5-4 hours including some travelling), or follow the general recommendation from NHS of 30 min physical activity every day, you will still have 28 hours left each week to do whatever you wish even after dedicating time to being physically active. If this sounds like your typical week, then you should be able to do at least two 1 hour-long training sessions a week or 3-4 shorter sessions every week without having a real issue with time.

Now that we have established the fact that most of you can find the time every week to exercise, the big question is how to get started. There are three key words to establishing good habits and finding time to exercise; planning, prioritising and motivation. You need to make a plan and prioritise it, and you need to find out why it is important to you! Changing your behavioural pattern might seem like a bit of work in the beginning, but stick with it and you will see that it gets easier along the way. If you need help changing a pattern, have a look at our January blog post on goal setting to help you get started. Consider both short term and long term goals which are achievable and realistic, otherwise it is easy to lose momentum.

Do not let time be the reason that you are not exercising and being healthy.

You do have time if you only learn to prioritise. If you truly do struggle to set time aside each week for training due to a busy schedule but wish to make a change and do not know how, sit down this afternoon, look at your schedule and see if and how you might be able to make some changes. When it is about your health it is O.K. to prioritise yourself and be somewhat egoistic. But, if you do have the hours to spare every week, do not use time as an excuse to justify the fact that you are simply not bothered to go to the gym or committing to making a change. If you have time but are not bothered to commit, the least you can do is to be honest about it and admit that to yourself.

Image from Google Images

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Specific tips from the trainers on how to get yourself out the door and get started:
– Instead of saying “I do not have time to exercise today”, say “I do not prioritise exercise today…” and add a cause “…because there are other things more important to me than my health”. By stating the reason why you do not prioritise training, it will be harder to justify not going if you have a “bad” excuse.
– Plan ahead:
.     – Make time and write it down in your diary.
.     – Pack the gym bag the night before and leave it in front of your door as a reminder that you are going
.        to the gym.
.     – Prepare your session before you are in the gym so you know exactly what you are going to do when
.        you get there.
.     – Make sure you eat enough food during the day so that you feel like you can handle a gym session –
.       walking into the gym feeling like you lack energy is the worst way to start a session!
– Work with the amount of time you have to spend: Think quality over quantity. If you only have 30 minutes, increase the intensity of your workout by doing more repetitions and resting less, or by doing interval based training. If you do not have time to get to the gym, there is a lot you can do in the comfort of your own home!
.      – For example, cook chicken breasts in the oven and spend the 30-40 minutes it takes for them to
.        finish to do an at-home cardio or body weight session – if the intensity is high enough you will
.        get a good workout done and make dinner at the same time.
– Trick yourself into getting out the door! Tell yourself you are only going to go to the gym and do 20 minutes of exercise. Walking out the door and getting started is usually the hardest part, once you have started it tends not to be as bad as you make it in your head and you might stay an hour. On the other hand, if you do not stay after the 20 minutes have passed, you have still done 20 minutes of exercise which is better than nothing!

Healthy regards,
The Result Fitness Team

Massage Therapy – what are the benefits?

Low to severe muscular tension or pain is a common problem. It is sometimes very hard to identify where the issue lies, and there is often more than one cause. The NHS recommend several treatments, ranging from drugs and creams to physical activity and manual therapy. Manual therapy, such as massage, can relieve some of the discomfort and improve day-to-day functioning. Massage therapy has beneficial physiological, psychological, biomechanical and neurological effects. In this blog we will discuss the most common causes of musculoskeletal pain and how massage therapy can help decrease pain and increase muscular functioning.

Everyone will deal with some sort of muscular tension and muscular pain at some point in their life, with back and neck pain being most common. Statistics report that as many as 49% of adults in the UK experience and/or struggle with back pain each year lasting at least 24 hours, and back pain alone is responsible for over 4 million lost working days in the UK every year. Furthermore, 22% of UK healthcare expenditure is spent treating patients who experience lower back pain. One of the leading causes for lower back pain is weakness in lower back and gluteals, often related to prolonged periods of sitting down and a sedentary lifestyle. Shoulder and neck pain is also prevalent in the UK and is the third most frequently reported musculoskeletal pain. Pain in the shoulders and neck is highly common in individuals who are experiencing high levels of stress, or are dealing with postural stress.

Postural stress is caused by having an inefficient posture. Maintaining a good posture every day is difficult; sitting or standing in the same positions for longer periods of times, and/ or repetitive movements result in a posture that is no longer optimal. The stress this causes on the body is what we call postural stress.

How will a massage help?

Sports massage is a popular, therapeutic modality…but is not a superficial treatment. It is an intensive dose of physical therapy in order to promote physiological recovery, improve performance and bring psychological well-being. When your muscles are tense, the tension in the muscles restrict blood flow and lymphatic drainage, which causes waste products to build up in the muscles. A massage will increase blood circulation and thus aid in clearing these waste products from the muscles, and in addition lead to more efficient fluid exchange between tissues and muscle fibres.

The improved circulation and better fluid exchange between muscle fibres and tissues will allow the muscle tissue to glide easier, resulting in increased flexibility. Scar tissue in the muscle is broken up and this improves flexibility and muscle function. Greater flexibility will lead to a decreased risk of injury, as well as performance enhancement to help you avoid that plateau.

Furtermore, massage releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter thought to be especially involved in maintaining mood balance, the functioning of the central nervous system cells as well as being a contributing factor to your wellbeing and happiness in promoting relaxation and healthy sleep.

Finally, massage therapy can also help you change your posture. A postural assessment, for example by looking at the alignment of your head, shoulders, hips and ankles, is useful because the alignment of these structures are important for a good posture. As the massage treatment releases tight muscles, it will be easier to change and increase awareness of your posture as the muscles are effectively loosened. The therapist will also be able to test whether your muscles are both tight and weak, or just tight, and can further instruct you in strengthening any weak muscles – or refer you to someone who can.

If you regularly experience muscular pain or have experienced it over a prolonged period of time, why not try massage therapy to see if it can improve your daily muscular functioning and ease the muscular tension you are experiencing?

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Healthy regards,
The Result Fitness Team

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If you are looking for more information or would like to book a treatment, have a look at:
www.performancesportsinjury.co.uk

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References:
www.backcare.org.uk
http://www.backcare.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Back-Facts-for-Employers-Factsheet.pdf
http://paincommunitycentre.org/article/low-back-pain-problem
 http://www.backcare.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/514-Eurocrat-210910.pdf

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