How to Stay Fit on a Summer Vacation

Today, I want to welcome and thank Peter, a beauty and fashion editor at HighStyleLife magazine in the UK, for doing up this amazing guest post for Beautiful Health. Peter is based in London, and occasionally in Brisbane, Australia and also works as a fashion stylist for many events around the UK and Australia.

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When it comes to the matters of getting in shape (or staying in shape) – there’s always a sense of urgency about it. We can’t really be sure why but the thing is, whenever the scale jumps to three, four pounds extra, we get a panic attack and decide there and then something must be changed about our daily routines. Talks of healthy diet are evoked, regular visits to the gym too, and of course – all other healthy habits are immediately called into practice.

Since you’ve nailed it all in time, and you’re just maintaining your goal weight, you are good to go. However, consider that you are about to go on a vacation, and you’ll probably be tempted to indulge in all kinds of gorgeously delicious and exotic sweets, drinks and foods you’ve never tried before. And sure, with all that – you’ll be at risk of gaining a few extra pounds… and we don’t want that now, do we?

Here’s how to keep yourself fit and still enjoy every single moment of your holiday:

Eat whatever you want…

…in moderation! Nobody expects you to say “no” to fresh baklavas or all the amazing Mediterranean food but, as long you are eating it smartly, you are okay. You won’t gain weight by eating one cake in five days, but you will if you eat five cakes in one day. Be smart, don’t let all the hard work go to waste.

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Party hard…

…but reduce alcohol and soda beverages to a minimum. Going to a foreign country and not experiencing their night life first hand is bizarre. Honestly, we’d never advise you against a good party, not in a million years. But… what we are strongly advocating is keeping yourself as far away from the alcohol as possible. Instead, hit the dance floor, sweat it out and it’ll be like squeezing in a workout while having an amazing time!

NOTE: What you should be drinking in liters is water! You already know that this magic drink is something to swear by. It’s keeping you hydrated, it’s keeping you full and you are feeling more and more energized with every new sip. So, drink up!

Don’t starve…

…rather, eat foods that are healthy, but keep you full. Going on vacation is the perfect opportunity to experiment with new types of veggies, fruits and extracts you haven’t tried before, so enjoy making your morning shakes and energy drinks. You can always mix up tastes you already like, so feel free to throw in some organic pea protein powder in your smoothie for taste, and combine it with the local’s recommended veggies for experience.

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Don’t join the local gym…

…but take a stroll down the beach every single day before bed or in the morning. If you are a runner, go for a morning run to kick start your metabolism and enjoy the wonderful seaside! Naturally, when you are on the beach, don’t focus on tanning – but swimming. Swimming is an amazing exercise that burns calories rapidly, gets your whole body in shape and is incredibly refreshing. Also you should consider yoga or pilates on the beach. It’s fun yet relaxing!

Sleep till late…

…but only if that means not waking up after 9am. Your body does need sleep to accumulate energy, so make sure you squeeze in at least six hours of sleep a night. You might want to challenge yourself and run on four hours or so (it does get tempting and we understand the urge to take all the new experiences in), but the more tired you are, the more food your body is going to need to keep you functioning. This will only lead to late night snacks, binge eating, romantic walks to the local food stands… ah, you know the drill.

Basically, it all comes down to self-control. Sure, 10 days of your life won’t change much overall, but they will have an impact on your body in the long run. So, be smart and careful about your choices, and you’ll keep that body banging!

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Fulfil your fitness goals with Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is becoming an increasingly widespread form of exercise for many fitness enthusiasts, whether they’re novices or fitness fanatics. It involves using a foam cylinder to massage the muscles where there is tension in your body and it can be a hugely effective exercise, but it is also likely to be rather painful at the start, and even experienced gym attendees are challenged by its intensity. That said, there is nothing better for relieving muscle pain and improving your overall body strength.

There’s nothing quite like a good infographic to explains the ins and outs of any health topic, and the folks down at Bracken Foam Fabricators have passed on this great infographic to help you understand.

Fulfil Your Fitness Goals with Foam Rolling – Infographic

Now that I know a bit more, I’ll bit grabbing a foam roller on my next trip to the gym to help with muscle tension!

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How much salad should you eat to lose weight?

When it comes to losing weight, those celery sticks  and grapefruits are the age-old cliché. But they’re a cliché for a reason. While the idea of celery having “negative calories” is a myth, it’s the vitamins and minerals in fruit and vegetables that are really important.

So on that note, I’d like to post this video by Dr Eric Berg which explains the benefits of eating salad, and exactly how much salad you should eat when trying to lose weight.

Dr Berg eats his daily amount of salad in one sitting, which is an excellent idea, as you know you’ve got all your leaves into you all at once. But it’s just as simple to have a salad for lunch and a salad with dinner.

Whatever way you eat your salad, make sure you get enough.

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Why you should start juicing for your health

Photo via Flickr: Stiftelsen Elektronikkbransjen

So many great athletes and age-defying gurus have been proponents of juicing for optimum health and fitness. If you’re looking to add this kind of regimen into your daily life, it’s far cheaper to start making your own juices rather than paying over €2 for a 250ml bottle. Though if you were to buy juices, I’m a huge fan of Little Pea Juices and lately I’ve been trying out the ones in the new Pure Raw Eatery in Galway City.

Sticking to a health regime can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re buying juice every day. But if you start making it yourself, you’re instantly improving your health while also knowing exactly what goes into your juice.

My wonderful boyfriend and I have recently started juicing and it’s amazing how much better we feel already. We’ve got a very old juicer and have our eye on a much better one in the near future. But for now it does the trick and provides us with beautifully smooth, delicious and nutritious juices.

If you want to get started straight away, John and I have started up a new website called iJuice.ie. Here we will give you a free juicing guide to help you get started and stay on track.

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But if you’re still just thinking about it, here are a few simply tips to show you how easy and beneficial juicing really is.

  1. Keep your juicer on your kitchen counter, or in an easy-to-reach cupboard at all times. Out of sight, out of mind is especially true when it comes to trying to form new habits. By making sure your juicer is always in plain sight, you will be more likely to remember to use it every day.
  2. If you don’t want to drink vegetables, don’t juice them immediately. Start with things you know you don’t mind drinking, like oranges and apples or even carrots. You can always build it up to add some vegetable when you’re more experienced with juicing.
  3. If you don’t have time to juice in the morning, you can make juice on the weekend and drink it throughout the week. The truth is that the vitamins and other nutrients in the drink will break up as time passes, but it’s better to drink homemade juice, than nothing at all. We bought two big glass bottles and we like to keep some juice in the fridge. We make more every few days.
  4. Do not overuse vegetables that are high in oxalic acid. This acid is a contributor to kidney stones and can impact osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Vegetables such as rhubarb, char, beets and spinach contain lots of oxalic acid. Use them in moderation and avoid mixing with broccoli or other high calcium food to maintain prevention.
  5. When looking for a juicer to purchase, check out the additional features it provides. A masticating juicer often comes with attachments to make pasta or grind foods, which can save you money by making other foods from scratch as well. Consider the juicer an investment for your whole kitchen, and pick up a few attachments while you’re out.
  6. If you find that your juicer becomes oily after juicing citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits you will have to clean the juicer with a mild detergent to get the oily feeling off. This is residue left behind from the citrus and must be cleansed well to avoid complications with mold.
  7. The best way to prepare your fruits and vegetables for juicing is to follow the instructions in your manual. After cleaning, you then need to cut the produce into pieces small enough to fit into the machine. You will also need to remove larger, hard pieces, such as peach pits.
  8. When it comes to juicing, one thing that you want to keep in mind is that a great way to add sweetness to all kinds of juice is through the use of apples. This is important because you can avoid using pure sugar or artificial sweeteners and use something that has its own health benefits.
  9. The best way to keep pulp from your juice is through a coffee filter. This is good to keep in mind because not only are they cheap but they do a great job.
  10. Many fruits and vegetables have the most amount of nutrients either in the skins or directly beneath them. This is important to consider when deciding whether or not to peel your ingredients.

Adding juicing to your life will make a dramatic impact. You’ll feel healthier, younger and more fit than you can remember. Your skin will clear up and your hair will look healthier. You’ll feel brighter and healthier – and the best thing about feeling healthy is you’ll want to keep eating healthy.

I’m off to get some juice for breakfast – my personal favourite is green juice: kale, cucumber, green apple, lime and spinach. Delicious!

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PS: I’ve been shortlisted for two categories in the Irish Blog Awards. If you like my blog and enjoy the topics I write about, I would greatly appreciate it if you could click both of the buttons to the right of this blog post (scroll up to the top of the side bar), and vote for Beautiful Health in both categories!

How to be your best self at 50+

I may only be halfway there, but when I hit 50 I intend to be fit as a fiddle and healthy as a horse. Our health is our wealth and it’s so important to be prepared for all the checks available to you, whether it be a smear test, breast check or other.

So when my attention was brought to this infographic I felt it was too good not to post. I hope it’ll raise awareness and encourage you ladies to keep on top of your health.

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Athlete Mindset Workbook: A great way to achieve your 2015 fitness goals

Beautiful Health

Click this image to go the the Athlete Mindset Workbook website.

A while ago, I was lucky enough to receive an amazing workbook in the post. The Athlete Mindset Workbook by Terry Orlick, Leslie Lewis and Fatima Leite Kusch, is a practical step-by-step sports psychology guide for making your dreams a reality, according to the website, and I can see exactly what they mean.

This workbook is perfect for anyone who feels like they’ve fallen short of their fitness goals too often and needs a new state of mind to help them power through. Sometimes writing down your fitness goals is an excellent way to stick to them, and this workbook aims to help you with that.

So how did it all get started?

Leslie Lewis was a member of Fatima’s fitness sisterhood Team Blessed Bodies. In spite of her best efforts, Lewis almost gave up her dream of competing in a national fitness competition after losing focus and feeling discouraged.

Fatima knew that Lewis had worked way too hard to give up, so the two women decided to approach Dr. Terry Orlick, a world-renowned life and performance coach, who has transformed thousands of lives over the past 35 years.

Together, they created a comprehensive plan that would enable Lewis to achieve the best physical, mental and emotional shape she had ever been in.

Lewis, Orlick and Leite Kusch share their best advice in this encouraging and inspirational workbook that will help anybody get the body they’ve always wanted in 2015.

“It was a well-coordinated effort as most times we were on different coasts, in different countries, with multiple time zones, and for a while, different continents,” the authors told me about their team work.

“The book grew from Terry’s work, brought to Leslie by Fatima as part of her coaching for Fatima’s Team Blessed Bodies, which is a sisterhood of fitness models, fit women and physique athletes. Team members contributed interviews. It’s a true co-creation!”

If the idea of fitness models and athletes is a bit daunting to you, then have no fear. These bodies may seem so unachievable to us, but the authors of the Athlete Mindset Workbook have complete fate in the power of self-belief.

“Mindset is… everything! That’s why it’s in the very title of our book, the Athlete Mindset Workbook. Your thoughts really do create and shape your reality on so many levels,” said the authors in an interview with Beautiful Health.

“Everyone knows that crash diets and exercise plans never really work for the long term. That’s because it’s the inner journey of focus and mindset that make lasting change possible.

“This book gives the user practical tools that they can put to use immediately to help them turn dreams into reality.”

One look at the book will show you that the authors mean business. There are exclusive interviews with various athletes, tips and advice, and questions to ask yourself to keep you on the road to your fitness goals.

“We created the workbook so that people could really define and fine-tune their fitness goals, then strategise, create a clear plan, and stay focused on doing what they need to do to follow that plan for success,” the authors told me.

“This book offers a unique and powerful way to really succeed with fitness goals through the mental work that’s required in order to make lasting changes.”

We’ve all been in that place where we just can’t keep up with our own fitness dreams. We hit the gym a couple of times a week for two or three weeks, and then there’s a muscle ache that just won’t go away.

I’m half talking about myself here. In January I started doing Insanity training, and I stuck with it for about six weeks and felt amazing. But then I got an ache – my IT band started to hurt and it never stopped.

That was about a month ago, and the pain still hasn’t lessened. Needless to say, it put a spanner in the works and wiped away the motivation I once had for exercise.

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So what can we do to motivate ourselves to pursue our fitness goals?

“There are five stages to change the process. First is Pre-Contemplation. These people don’t think they need to change and that’s fine,” said the authors when asked what they would say to someone who is severely lacking the motivation to follow their dreams.

“The next stage is Contemplation – and this is the ‘unmotivated’ person who has an idea of wanting to be more fit, but may feel completely daunted by what they believe is necessary for the fitness level they want for themselves.

“This Contemplation phase is actually extremely important and what we would say to those people is: Baby Steps. They should give themselves the luxury of starting to explore what change might require of them, and take tiny incremental steps in that direction.

“The other three stages, by the way, are Action, Maintenance and Relapse (which takes you back into Contemplation to start the cycle again!).”

It’s certainly a relief to know that relapse is one of the stages and that even the experts see it as something that takes you back around in the cycle.

“Often people who define themselves as ‘unmotivated’ are simply discouraged or defeated by past failures to achieve their goals. More often than not, what’s required is the change in mindset – rather than a new diet or exercise plan – in order to succeed.

“The workbook can help any individual who is willing to actually do the exercises. So our advice would be: buy the book and then actually use it. If that feels like too much, try just looking at the sample chapter that we offer on the website, AthletMindsetWorkbook.com.”

The good news is, you don’t have to go to the gym to use the workbook, which is great if you don’t have hundreds of euros to throw away on membership every year.

“There are many ways to stay fit that don’t involve a gym membership. The Athlete Mindset Workbook offers examples of a high-intensity interval training workout and a short yoga routine that can be done anywhere,” the authors explain.

“What matters is finding a workout that you enjoy and that works for your life; one that you can create habits of consistency and commitment around.

“Starting with a goal of walking around the block once, three times a week can be enough to just start helping an individual get going.”

So with all that in mind, how exactly would the authors advise people to use this workbook?

“First and foremost, just read the book and do the exercises. They work! Second, really make the workbook yours. Write in its pages. Highlight favourite quotes from the interviews. Do the optional exercises like creating a vision board and putting reminders of your goals as alerts in your phone. These details make a difference and can really help.

“Finally, have fun with it! We encourage you to celebrate whenever you complete a task in the workbook or do anything that moves you closer to your goals.

“We would love for you to find a friend to become your fitness buddy so that you can do the  mindset exercises with each other. You can be halfway across the world yet share your successes and adventures together.

“However you choose to use this material, we wish you all the best in your fitness journey.”

I personally have forgotten my IT band pain and plan on getting started on my fitness goals on Monday. I’ve read through the book and can really see myself sticking to a good fitness regime using the exercises in this workbook.

If you’d like to find out more about the workbook, visit http://www.athletemindsetworkbook.com. You’ll be glad you did!

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A Guide to Boosting your Immunity

I don’t want to jinx myself but I think it’s been about a year since I’ve caught any colds or flu. That’s not to say I haven’t been sick at all, because I’m sure I’ve had episodes where something I ate didn’t agree with me, or other kinds of sickness. But it’s been a while since I caught a cold by being near someone who had a cold.

Why?

Because I’ve been really looking after my immune system. I’ve been drinking wheatgrass or super greens (which contain spirulina, wheatgrass and other healthy greens) every morning (or most mornings), thanks to my wonderful boyfriend, John Mulry, who ensures I get a scoop of it in apple juice every day.

Anyway, I’ve recently been sent an infographic from FIX.com, which goes into detail about the foods and lifestyle habits that can boost your immunity. It’s an excellent infographic and I think you’ll all enjoy it.

Is there anything you do that you think has boosted your immune system? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below and I look forward to reading any responses!

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Source: Fix.com