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There seems to be a certain stigma associated with using supplements and unfortunately it tends to be a negative one. The old fashioned stance on the subject is that you get all the nutrients you need from your meals. The facts are that most people these days don’t eat a balanced diet due to time constraints, work or family commitments, as a result the body often lacks the full range of nutrition it requires for optimum health. This in turn creates an imbalance in the body often leading to a lower resistance to illness, poor digestive functioning a lack of energy and skin problems to name just a few.
Most of us know what we should and shouldn’t be eating but the reality is that it’s not always easy to stick to the type of diets that are recommended to us. Eating a balanced healthy diet of proteins, carbohydrates, dairy products, fruits and vegetables — and yes, even some healthy fats are the key to providing the body with the nutrients it needs for day to day functioning and long term health.
When this is not always possible the obvious choice is to look at what using supplements can do for us, this is not to say that they should be used as alternative to eating well but as some assistance. With hundreds if not thousands of different products on the market it is difficult to know where to begin.
At the very least a decent multi vitamin and mineral supplement should be taken on a daily basis by adults and children over the age of 3. As incredible as the body is, it can’t make vitamins so these need to be consumed on a daily basis for the body to maintain health.
Sufficient protein in the diet is critical for the functioning and regulation of the bodies tissues and organs, good quality protein often lacks in modern day diets and is something that should be considered when thinking about using supplements.
Whatever your health goals are the importance of eating breakfast for most people including children can not be highlighted enough. The body has been in “rest and recover mode” throughout the night so by giving it sufficient fuel with a healthy nutritious breakfast it kick starts the metabolism into action. This should be quality not quantity, sugar laden cereals are not the way to go as this causes a sugar spike followed by a crash a couple of hours later when blood glucose is depleted, it is at this point we crave more sugary foods to boost feelings of lethargy, and so the cycle continues.
Many people say they can’t eat breakfast, don’t have time or don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning, the simple answer is you have to try. The human body is extremely adaptable and in most cases it just takes a bit of planning and effort to get used to eating breakfast.
Start by having something small, a slice of toast with a healthy spread, an egg on toast, a banana etc. This is when the benefits of using a supplement can really help, alongside whatever food option you decide upon, having a protein shake provides you with the additional nutrients your body needs. The misconception that protein shakes are only for athletes or body builders is wrong, not only are they an excellent way to get good quality protein into your diet they often contain additional vitamins and minerals that your body requires on a daily basis for optimal functioning.
You can make your own mind up as to whether supplements are for you and your family or not but for a small investment each month in your health and well being surely it is worth a try.
Below I have provided two companies that I use on a day to day basis, they both provide top quality products and use only the best ingredients. The products are reasonably priced and I rate them as two of the best companies I have come across over the years.
The first is The Protein Works, this is more of a sports orientated company but cater for all different levels and health and fitness goals. Very reasonably priced, I use one of their protein products on a daily basis and can see and feel the benefits.
Lily & Loaf is another company I highly recommend, they have a huge variety of products for all sorts of different aspects of health and well being. I continue to use their products and my clients have also seen huge benefits in their health from using these natural products compared to conventional medicines. I value their products to the extent that I have signed up to hosting an online shop (in the link below) which caters for adults, children and even pets. They even offer a 90 day money back guarantee with their products.
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So you have made the first step, you are contemplating beginning an exercise program!
In order to make it sustainable, realistic and as enjoyable as possible following a basic strategy will help you reach your goals.
If you are new to exercise or haven’t exercised regularly for over a year it is a good idea to start at the beginning again. Your body responds positively to exercise at quite an astonishing rate. It takes time but over a few weeks of regular exercise you will definitely start to notice results. The saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”
When Training my clients I compare building up their fitness to that of building a house, you have to start from scratch.
Imagine your body is the house that is being built, you have to start at the foundation’s first to achieve your final goal (your dream house), a solid foundation is the key to the long term survival of the structure. There is no point in focusing on the fancy decor and furnishings at the initial stages of the build, that all comes later when the framework of the house has been completed.
This is true of the human body, by starting on a training programme that lays down the solid foundation on which to build on you can achieve your goals with perseverance and commitment. Like a building project there will be issues and setbacks along the way but ultimately you have an end goal. These goals need to be realistic, planned and have timeframes in which you want to achieve them by.
For example “I want to lose 14lbs in two weeks” this is completely unrealistic and not sustainable, it takes time to put on weight and be unhealthy so you can’t expect to to turn your life around in two weeks!
A more realistic and sustainable goal would be to lose the 14lbs in two months, this would still be challenging but with attention to your diet and exercise routine this is far more achievable. A simple change to your lifestyle and eating habits can have a big impact, for example reduce your portion sizes, if there are some leftovers after you have dished up you don’t have to eat them all!! Save them for the following day to have for your lunch instead.
Keep a notepad and write down your progress it takes minutes to do, write the time and date and stick to the same time of day that you weigh yourself. If you haven’t lost any weight don’t give up just focus more on being a bit more honest with what you are eating. You don’t need to become obsessed with the scales but it is handy to keep tabs on how things are going.
This is also true from the other angle, just because you are not overweight doesn’t mean you are healthy! If you have sedentary job or don’t do any exercise your body is not performing to the best of it’s ability and the likelihood of picking up illness’ and infections are far greater.
The list goes on and on with proven health benefits resulting from exercising on a weekly basis.
Let’s say you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscle definition and or strength and you don’t have a weight issue. By following the same simple steps listed above you will notice an improvement in how you feel in a matter of weeks.
- Set realistic fitness goals
- Write them down and the time frame in which you want to achieve them
- Stick to a routine for exercising
- Don’t give up at the first hurdle, if you miss a week it’s no problem, get back on track ASAP
- Go solo or exercise with a friend or family member, it helps with motivation!
- Take your time! You can achieve your goals just put your mind to it!
A good place to start is the beginners program if you are new to exercise…
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