Small steps, Big results: Top tips from the Executive Fitness Foundation

Here is our definitive step-by-step guide to staying happy, healthy and motivated.

1. NUTRITION

Plan exercise sessions around cuttingedge nutrition. Try to drink half a 500ml bottle of sports drink or eat half a small banana 1-2 hours before exercise. This causes glycogen (a source of energy) to be released into the blood stream more efficiently. As soon as you have finished exercising, consume the remainder of the banana or sport drink to replenish stores of glycogen used.

* Top tip

Blend a banana with milk, hemp seeds and linseeds. Consume 50% before your exercise session and put the remainder in a flask for the post-workout boost!

2. MASSAGE

While the benefits of massage for relaxation and wellbeing are well known, the physical benefits of massage are also very important. After exercise or being trapped behind a desk or car for most of the day, massage break down adhesions and knots, thus reducing tension and stiffness.

* Top tip

Organise a massage at One Spa as part of your regular training programme or learn how to use a foam roll (metre long foam tube) to soothe tight muscles.

3. SUPER FOODS & SUPER YOU

Super foods have been around for centuries. These health-enhancing, energy-rich, fibre-rich foods should be a staple of all diets. Try seeds and nuts such as linseeds and almonds, and fresh vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.

* Top tip

Try 3 different super food salads each week as a main meal or starter. Toast pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds. Sprinkle over a bed of baby spinach, fresh beetroot and fresh parsley. Finish with a dash of olive oil!

4. JUICING

Did you know that ‘fresh’ supermarket fruit juice can be up to 6 months old and is often loaded with added sugar? It’s time to take a stand and be ‘sedjuiced’ with the most fresh of juices using a ‘centrifugal’ machine. Retailing from £50, this is a truly great investment. Juice comes out one end while the pulp is collected at the other. A nutritious kick for the entire body and brain – cheap and the most effective vitamin boost going!

* Top tip

Juice 3 carrots, a chunk of fresh ginger and two apples. Keep the skin on to maximise nutrients!

5. FAT BURNING STRATEGIES

Keeping trim is always a challenge. Most of us are conscious about our weight or more correctly our fat, particularly our waistline or LBTs (legs, bums and tums). Traditional fat burning is usually a long comfortable 60 minute low intensity session on a bike or treadmill. The truth is it takes 20 minutes for our energy system to start metabolising fat. It is also fairly mundane and doesn’t provide the same mental uplift as a fitness or higher intensity session provides.

* Top tip

Choose 4 pieces of 5 minute cardiovascular (CV) exercises (e.g. bike, treadmill, rowing machine) with 3 strength training segments which cover all your muscles. Mix 1 CV with 1 strength training and repeat. Watch the pounds fall off!

6. CHILLOUT

Although exercise is effective in recharging our bodies, the benefit of ‘switching’ off is equally valuable. Today we push ourselves too hard and rely too heavily on sleep to replace energy. Focussed relaxation is similar to sleep – we close our eyes instantly conserving 50% of our brain’s energy.

* Top tip

Sit cross-legged or straight out with bent knees, with your back supported against a wall. Play soft, gentle music and simply focus on deep, slow breathing. Simple. Do this every day for 15 minutes.

7. GET BOOSTED

Immune function is a complex business. Our bodies are constantly fighting infections, usually with success. However, we can end up run down with a cold or flu. The above tips will all contribute to better immune function.

* Top tip

We can boost our immunity a little more with immune responsive supplements such as selenium and vitamins A, B, C and D. In addition zinc and echinacea are even more powerful.
Keep a balanced, open approach to your body and mind. It takes some organisation but with small adjustments to your lifestyle, it won’t be long before long you feel and look amazing. Small steps mean big results!

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