How to Get 30 Minutes of Exercise Each Day

Physical inactivity is the second highest lifestyle related cause of disease and illness in Australia.

Running

As part of our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, participants must consistently do 30 minutes of moderate intensity, ‘huffy puffy’ exercise each day.

What is ‘huffy puffy’ exercise?

‘Huffy puffy’ exercise is any movement that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat. You should be out of breath and unable to hold a conversation in full sentences.

The National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend accumulating 2.5 – 5 hours of moderate intensity or 1.25-2.5 hours of vigorous intensity exercise each week. In an ideal world, you’re aiming for a combination of both.

Benefits of exercise

Getting 30 minutes of ‘huffy puffy’ exercise in each day can be easier than you expect. Besides, the benefits are totally worth it! Getting vigorous exercise in each day will help:

  • Optimise your mood, memory and brain function

  • Increase your blood flow, oxygen and nutrient supply to your body

  • Reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis

  • Assist with managing your weight

Here are 3 fun and easy ways to get puffed in 30 minutes:

1. Circuit Training

Circuit training is one of the most efficient ways to enhance cardiovascular fitness and muscle endurance. It’s easy to create a short, sharp session at home using different exercises to target different muscle groups and body parts. Try incorporating upper body exercises like pushups, tricep dips and chin ups with lower body exercises like squats, lunges, calf raises and stair climbs. Throw in some crunches, planks and leg raises to finish off and work your core. With minimal rest cycles you can easily make this a high intensity session and tick off your 30 minutes easily.

2. Interval Training 

Steady state exercise like going for a long run, ride or row at a slower speed are great, aerobic, huffy puffy exercises, but if you want to boost the overall intensity, try adding interval training. This style of training mixes high and low intensity (or active rest) exercise for great metabolic results.

Instead of going for a slow run, try sprinting for 30 seconds at maximum effort and then scale back the intensity to an easy jog for 1-2 minutes of active recovery. Repeat 8-10 times. Varying exercise intensity can help your body adapt to exercising for longer and at higher intensity levels.

3. Skipping

Skipping rope is a fun, total body way to break a sweat. Using a skipping rope strengthens both your upper and lower body, gets your heart rate pumping and builds coordination and balance. If that’s not enough to convince you – a skipping rope costs less than $5 and is light and transportable so you can take it with you anywhere.

All 3 of the above exercises are great ways to incorporate ‘huffy puffy’ exercise into your favourite routine or use them on their own as a serious heart pumping activity. Don’t be afraid to mix up your cardiovascular exercise – any activity that helps you get your sweat on is perfect! 

Nutritionist vs Dietitian vs Sports Dietitian

What is a Dietitian and Nutritionist?

We constantly get asked to explain the difference between a Dietitian and Nutritionist. Yes they're different and yes we will always correct you when you call us a Nutritionist. Read on to find out why we get slightly offended ;) 

 

Australia currently does not regulate the professional titles ‘nutritionist’ or 'dietitian', leaving a wide market for misinformation if you do not do your own research. The media also tends to use the two terms  interchangeably, making distinctions between qualifications increasingly difficult. Read on as we break down the differences between these professions, their relevant qualifications, what they can do for you and what to look for when looking for a professional.

Nutritionist

This term can be the most confusing of the three, as there are varying levels of qualifications that result in the title ‘nutritionist’. Nutrition is a three year university degree, but there is currently no regulation over this title in Australia, meaning anyone can call themselves a nutritionist if they want, even you. Even if they have only completed a 20 minute online lecture!

The Nutrition Society of Australia is currently attempting to clear up confusion with a voluntary registration that requires a minimum three year tertiary degree, or relevant years of work experience, to gain the title Registered Nutritionist (RNutr). Nutritionists have completed study pertaining to community and public health, food science and food policy. They are qualified to offer broad health advice, however are not qualified to deliver individualised medical nutrition therapy. In Australia, every dietitian is a nutritionist, but not every nutritionist can call themselves a dietitian unless they've gone on to complete further study. Confusing right?! 

Dietitian

A dietitian is a person with a 4 year University education in Nutrition & Dietetics. They are qualified to provide individualised, evidence-based nutrition advice after undergoing a course of study with substantial theory and practice in medical nutrition therapy.  They are classified as the quality standard for nutrition advice by the Australian Government, meaning they are covered by Medicare health rebates and recognised by most private health funds.

Once again the term ‘dietitian’ is not specifically controlled, however you can trust that professionals who carry the title Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) have completed a minimum four year tertiary degree and must undertake many hours of continual professional development to uphold their qualification each year. See a general dietitian if you need assistance with a chronic disease, weight management or just want to improve your overall health. 

Sports Dietitian

A Sports Dietitian has gone on to complete further study to become experts in Sports Nutrition. They must be an Accredited Practicing Dietitian first, with a minimum of one year clinical experience, along with completion of additional study in the field of nutrition for sporting performance. Sports Dietitians are the guru’s on optimising athletic performance through food. Their services aren’t just for professional athletes, they can (and do!) assist everyday exercisers to get that little bit more out of their training. See a Sports Dietitian if you're an exerciser of any level and want to:

  • Develop a plan to help you reach your ideal body composition (fat loss/muscle gain)

  • Get specific dietary advice to get the most out of your training/exercise/sport

  • Maximise your recovery

  • Make weight prior to competition without having to starve yourself

  • Get sports supplement advice for the performance edge

  • Carbohydrate load for endurance events

  • Get tips on sticking to your nutrition plan with a busy lifestyle

  • Healthy athleat friendly recipe ideas
    Plus many many more

Accredited Practicing Dietitians and Sports Dietitians are both fantastic resources and have a wealth of knowledge to assist you in reaching your goals. Our founder Taryn has completed more than 6 years of study and continues to clock numerous hours of ongoing education to maintain an Advanced Sports Dietitian status. Now you'll know why her nostrils flare a little when you call her a Nutritionist ;)

Intermittent Fasting: Breaking down the evidence

Intermittent Fasting; the latest in diet trends. Claiming health benefits from weight loss to prevention of chronic disease. Is it really the answer to the world’s health problems? We take a look at the evidence...

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What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting encompasses several different dietary behaviours, all of which focus on controlling the period in which food is consumed. These behaviours dictate a fasting and feeding schedule of various lengths. However, there isn't a restriction placed on the TYPES of foods consumed during feeding times.

Different types of intermittent fasting:

The three most popular methods that are circulating the health and fitness industry are:

  • Time-Restricted Feeding 
    Daily fasting for a minimum of 12 hours (the most common fast is 16 hours, with 8 hours during the day to eat, for example only eating between 11am and 7pm).

  • Alternate Day Fasting 
    Involves cycling between one day of “fasting” and one day of consuming your regular diet. On the “fasting” day, you consume less than ~25% of your daily energy requirements. For an average adult this equates to  ~2175kJ – or roughly equivalent to your lunchtime chicken sandwich.

  • The 5 and 2 Method 
    This involves energy restriction to less than 25% of requirements for two non-consecutive days per week. While 5 days you eat as per usual.

The health benefits

Intermittent fasting has been shown to cause significant weight loss in short-term studies, varying from 4-8% loss of body weight within 6-12 weeks (3-5, 7). However, when this was compared to a constant control of energy intake there appears to be no difference in weight loss between the groups (3-5). Findings did point to less loss of fat-free mass (our muscle) during intermittent fasting, demonstrating that it may be a more efficient method to prevent loss of lean muscle mass during weight loss periods (4-5).

Intermittent fasting has been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, however with the current research available it is difficult to observe if benefits are unique to fasting, or if they simply occur as a result of weight loss. These benefits include improvements in cholesterol (lowered LDL and total cholesterol), triglycerides, blood pressure, and inflammatory and oxidative stress markers (3-4). Fat loss also produces changes in circulating levels or certain adipokine’s (proteins released by fat cells) which has a protective effect on the progression of cardiovascular disease and cancer (3-4). Fasting has also shown decreases in fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance, good news for the prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes (3-4). Despite these preliminary benefits, current research remains largely inconclusive, highlighting a need for further long-term human studies.

Is it an option for athletes?

When considering changing up your dietary routine, one of the most important questions to ask is, “is it sustainable in the long term for your lifestyle?”. Whether a recreational athlete or a serious competitor, having enough fuel in the tank is essential to get through long, hard training sessions. Incorporating extended periods of fasting and depleting fuel stores, while continuing to attempt a high training load is counterproductive.

We know that lower intensity exercise draws predominantly on fat as a fuel source. While higher intensities have an increased reliance on carbohydrate as a fuel. With insufficient fuel at high intensities, you slow down to allow the body to utilise more fat as a fuel. In both professional and recreational athletes, VO2 max decreased by up to 12% during an intermittent fasting routine (2).  However, regardless of type or intensity of exercise, all athletes reported feeling higher levels of fatigue (1-2).

So if your daily training routine is more aerobic, slow and steady style, then fasting may not impact too much on performance; although you might not feel quite as light on your feet! Planning rest days or shorter, easier, recovery type sessions on fasting days could be the way around this. If you’re more interested in short, sharp, high-intensity sessions, you would struggle to get the best performance out of your session in a prolonged fasted state.

Recovery is also significantly impacted if you’re not able to refuel after a session. The ingestion of protein and carbohydrate post-exercise increases muscle synthesis and replenishes glycogen stores. If you’re unable to adequately refuel post-exercise or even during the following 24 hours, this can result in muscle breakdown and inadequate energy stores to complete training on subsequent days (8). In summary, it would be difficult to incorporate intermittent fasting with a heavy training load, however, there are certain adjustments you could make to try and minimise negative effects:

  1. Choose time-restricted feeding over other fasting patterns, this allows for adequate fuel intake EVERY day and will have the smallest negative impact on recovery.
  2. If choosing a fasting technique where intake on certain days is less than 25% of requirements, ensure protein intake is adequate to prevent muscle breakdown after training. Intake of 20-30g of protein following a session and regularly distributed throughout the day is a good place to start! (8) 
  3. Plan training sessions OUTSIDE of fasting times if possible to minimise the effect on performance.
  4. Stay HYDRATED to prevent further fatigue on your body. Sometimes when we’re not eating we also forget to drink!

Playing devil's advocate

In our opinion, any form of dietary restriction should come with a big fat warning sign! These behaviours can result in increased hunger levels and overeating outside of fasting times. We commonly see people on the 2 and 5 diet binge eat on their 5 days of “normal” eating, completely negating any effect of the 2 days of fasting! Our body is great at playing catch up. Other negative effects to highlight include irritability and an inability to focus, so proceed with caution as everyone is different and fasting may not suit you (or your family!). Extra effort should also be placed on consuming a balanced diet in the hours of feeding to ensure you are still getting everything you need.

The final word

Although intermittent fasting is praised at times, there is still inadequate research to promote it globally as a superior method for weight loss or prevention of chronic disease. Yes, there are several proposed benefits, however, these could simply be seen as a result of weight loss itself. Fasting also requires significant effort to ensure dietary intake is adequately met and for athletes, alterations to your training schedule so performance is minimally affected. The best diet is the one you can stick to! If fasting is something you want to consider - see an Accredited Dietitian who can ensure you’re getting everything you need across the week, no matter what fasting program you’re on.

 

References

(1) Chaouachi, J., Coutts, P., Chamari, P., Wong, P., Chaouachi, P., Chtara, P., Roky, P., et al. (2009). Effect of Ramadan Intermittent Fasting on Aerobic and Anaerobic Performance and Perception of Fatigue in Male Elite Judo Athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(9), 2702–2709. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181bc17fc

(2) Chaouachi, A., Leiper, J., Chtourou, H., Aziz, A., & Chamari, K. (2012). The effects of Ramadan intermittent fasting on athletic performance: Recommendations for the maintenance of physical fitness. Journal of Sports Sciences, 30, S53. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1026565523/

(3) Patterson, R., & Sears, D. (n.d.). Metabolic Effects of Intermittent Fasting. Annual Review of Nutrition, 37, 371–393. doi:10.1146/annurev-nutr-071816-064634

(4) Anton, S., Moehl, K., Donahoo, W., Marosi, K., Lee, S., Mainous, A., Leeuwenburgh, C., et al. (2018, February). Flipping the Metabolic Switch: Understanding and Applying the Health Benefits of Fasting. Obesity. doi:10.1002/oby.22065

 (5) Harvie, M., & Howell, A. (2017). Potential Benefits and Harms of Intermittent Energy Restriction and Intermittent Fasting Amongst Obese, Overweight and Normal Weight Subjects-A Narrative Review of Human and Animal Evidence. Behavioral Sciences, 7(1), 4. doi:10.3390/bs7010004

(6) Maughan, R., Fallah, J., & Coyle, E. (2010). The effects of fasting on metabolism and performance. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 44(7), 490. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2010.072181

(7) Varady, K. (2011). Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss? Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 12(7), e593. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00873.x

(8) Burke, L. (2010). Fasting and recovery from exercise. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 44,502-508. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2007.071472

Exercise to manage stress and mood

It is well known that exercise increases your fitness and improves your overall health and well-being. Exercise is also an effective way to manage your mood and stress levels.

Virtually any form of exercise from weight lifting to running or even yoga, has powerful ‘mood-boosting’ effects. Exercise can help:

·       Decrease stress and anxiety levels

·       Ward off feelings of depression

·       Boost confidence and self-esteem

·       Increase productivity

·       Improve sleep

So how does exercise work it’s magic?

Endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good neurotransmitters or chemicals. When you perform any type of physical activity your body responds by releasing these neurotransmitters. The endorphins interact with your brain’s opiate receptors and trigger feelings of euphoria and general well-being. They also suppress your ability to feel pain.

Although a demanding schedule sounds like the perfect reason to for-go exercising, setting aside some time to move every day helps turn your daily physical activity into a healthy habit. The current recommendations for healthy adults is 150 to 300 minutes of moderate or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Try breaking exercise up into smaller chunks, mixing up the intensity of your physical activity and alternating between morning, lunch time and evening activities to fit around your busy days. Whatever you do, don’t think of exercise as another chore – it is actually the key to de-stressing after a hectic day! 

Why Alcohol is the Hand Break on Your Weight Loss Goals

No-one likes a hand brake. 

Yet consuming even moderate amounts of alcohol has detrimental effects on weight loss. The biggest problem with alcohol is not simply its energy density, it’s also how alcohol effects our body’s metabolic processes. Most importantly, its capacity to metabolise fat.

The reason why alcohol impacts our metabolism is linked to the way in which ethanol is processed. Ethanol is a toxic molecule and our body doesn’t have a storage place for it. Unlike fat, which is deposited into fat cells or carbohydrates which are stored as glycogen in our muscles and liver. Essentially the body has no choice but to prioritise the breakdown and removal of alcohol over all other macronutrients.

The major processing site for alcohol in the body is the liver. Up to 98% of alcohol consumed is transported to the liver where the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase converts alcohol to acetaldehyde. This molecule is then transformed into acetate, producing a sudden increase in blood acetate levels.

The body prefers to burn acetate over fat because it is more efficient. Acetate is a very readily available fuel source so the body doesn't have to do much metabolic work to use it. Our body suppresses fat oxidation (fat burning), sometimes by up to 73% (!), until the acetate is burned off. This means that for the subsequent hours after drinking, your body is in unable to utilise fat stores and any plans you had for fat loss come to a grinding halt.

But wait, there is more bad news…

When we drink heavily for an extended period of time, our body recognises alcohol as a consistent energy source and adapts to use it more efficiently. The body activates a system known as the ‘microsomal ethanol-oxidising system’ in order to redistribute and remove excess alcohol and promote body fat storage. The most common site of fat storage is around your mid-section (hence why lovers of alcohol usually sport a "beer gut").

If you’re a part of our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, these are just a couple of good reasons why alcohol intake scores so poorly. While for some it may be hard to avoid, it wouldn’t be called a ‘challenge’ if it wasn’t challenging, right? We only have your health at heart. Plus it’s only 30 days out of your whole life – you’ll thank us for it later. 

 

 

7 Tips to Drink More Water

For some, drinking enough water each day is easier said than done. Maybe you dislike the taste, get too busy or just plain forget about drinking until bedtime, when chugging eight glasses is highly impractical (and not advised!). To help you drink more water, we’ve put together 7 tips you can use to develop this healthy and essential habit.

  1. Buy a water bottle (and use it)


    Invest in a high-quality, stainless steel or heavy duty BPA free plastic water bottle and take it with you everywhere! If you regularly forget to drink water, find ways to keep your water bottle visible. Keep it on your bedside table, on your desk and in the car. Increase your availability of water and opportunity to drink and chances are you will.

  2. Add sugar-free flavour


    If plain water isn’t your thing, try flavouring it with fresh fruits and herbs. Try these tasty combinations:

    Cucumber and mint
    Fresh lemon or lime wedges – squeeze some of the juice into your water first
    Frozen berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries. These also double as ice cubes and are great for summer
    Fresh lemon and ginger root
    range slices & blueberries
    Watermelon and mint
    Rosemary and grapefruit
    Kiwi and cucumber

  3. Switch things up and go for a sparkling mineral water

    Soda streams are all the rage at the moment and are a cheap way of making your own bubbly water without the wastefulness of buying numerous bottles from the supermarket.

  4. Add water to your daily routine

    Adding water into your morning and night time routine is an easy way to ensure you drink at least two glasses of water each day. Get into the habit of drinking a glass of water before you have breakfast and another right before you brush your teeth at night.

  5. Turn your water bottle into a timer


    You can create drinking goals and mark them on your water bottle to hit targets by certain times of the day. Use tape or a permanent marker to mark how much water you aim to drink by a particular time. This is a helpful way to keep track of whether you are going to hit your goal water intake (or not). You can also buy motivational water bottles pre-marked or even fancier products with inbuilt computers that track your water consumption.

  6. Create mental triggers


    Identify some mental prompts to drink water. For example, if you feel hungry opt for a glass of water before eating. Not only will this keep you hydrated it will could also possibly curb your hunger.

  7. Be active


    We lose water in sweat which needs to be replaced during and after exercise. If you're struggling to drink, go for a brisk walk or do some exercise in the gym. This will help drive thirst as your body works to restore its hydration balance or homeostasis.

Happy drinking!

 

Stay on Track in 2017

2017 is here and motivation is at its peak! It can be easy to jump headfirst into New Year's resolutions, only to run out of puff after a few weeks. If you want long term change, set realistic goals using our top tips to help you achieve them…

Top tips to Stay on Track this New Year

1. Forget Detoxes

From colon cleanses to juice fasts (*face palm), detoxes are believed to be the best way to rid your body of toxins, lose weight and kick start a healthier lifestyle. The truth is though, there is no evidence to support such practices. Our body is well equipped with 2 kidneys and a liver to filter our blood and eradicate toxins. By simply eating a healthy, balanced diet and ensuring healthy habits each day, we help our body to maintain a balance in the long-term, without the need to “detox”…..whatever the heck that means. 

2. Choose SMART goals

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. By making your goals these factors, you'll have greater chance of keeping them throughout the year. Write them down and hold yourself accountable to them! Tell your accountabilabuddy (yes that’s a word) what your goals are so they can help keep you on track too.

3. Slow and steady wins the race 

If weight loss is your goal, the steadier the loss, the more likely it is that the weight will stay off. A healthy weight loss is approximately 0.5kg to 1 kg per week. It may sound small but it can quickly add up to a considerable change. Slow and steady, while not sounding particularly “sexy”, is more achievable and can be maintained long term, increasing your chance of overall success.

The same goes for diving head first into exercise - if you overdo it, the more likely it is you'll never want to do it again. Consistency is key; one huge work out that induces so much pain you cannot walk for a week will not make you stronger or fitter! Regular exercise that builds on the previous session will ensure long term change for the better. Start easy, and build as your fitness increases.

4. Make many small goals instead of one big one

Map out your Ultimate Goal and then break this up into smaller, bite sized goals. It will be easier to achieve your overall goal if you can imagine the outcome occurring in the not so distant future. Smaller chunks will help you keep working steadily and more consistently on your Ultimate Goal. Onwards and upwards!

5. Reward yourself (but not with food!)

When you reach your goal/s, celebrate! Choose an activity that is special for you such as a gold class movie, some time with your favourite people, an indulgent massage or beauty treatment, a new outfit or set of wheels :) I like to treat myself to a swim in the Ocean, it's completely up to you. As long as it’s not food.

6. Get back on the horse

If you had planned to go running every day and today you sat on the couch and ate a block of chocolate instead (we know, sometimes it just… happens), pick yourself up and get back out there tomorrow.  Don’t wait for Monday to roll around. Remind yourself that consistency is the key. You haven't let anyone down and every day is a new day! Which brings me to the next point...

7. Make every day your New Year's resolutions day 

Get away from the "all or none" mentality; incorporate healthy behaviour into your everyday lifestyle! Our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge aims to achieve just that! It's those small, daily habits we consistently repeat over time that become entrenched. Make the choice and stick to it.

8. Practice makes perfect 

Keep practicing those great healthy habits. A study by researchers from the University College London shows that it takes 66 days for a new habit to become the norm. Don’t give in - recognise it takes time to turn new behaviours into habits, so keep going and you’ll soon see they become second nature.

Happy New Year!

Dietitian Approved