Is a massage worth the expense?

Here at Sportfasting we put a lot of emphasis on food & nutrition because after all, “you are what you eat”. But we try pass on any good quality and/or useful information, for the benefit of all, in everything we send to you even if it’s not about food. So following the theme of trying to add value, I thought you might find the two articles at the links below interesting:
‘Is a massage worth the expense?’

‘Do you cramp when exercising?’

Regards
Paul

No to diets!

Don’t diet. Sounds strange coming from us I’m sure. We may all have a different definition of diet but to me it means a temporary and short cut attempt to lose weight. The problem is that while the diet is temporary often the weight loss is too. You can’t diet forever and that’s one of the reasons the weight lost so often comes back.

If you want to lose weight make a change that you can keep up…a so called lifestyle change. I eat loads and am quite lean. My BMI, which shows if you’re under or overweight for your height is 20.55. That’s within normal range so I’m not considered skinny either. Click the BMI link at the end to work your BMI out. In fact family and friends are generally surprised at how much I eat and how lean I am. But it’s what I eat and the fact that I exercise as well.

We need good proteins such as eggs, red meats, white meats and nuts. There are others but these are among the best. Loading up on vegetables is good, try go for all the colours. Broccoli is packed with nutrients and is a good one to eat often. Fat is essential but good fat in foods like avocados, nuts, seeds and fish. Using good quality olive oil in salads is also a good source of fat. Coconut oil is probably one of the best forms of healthy fat.

The big one, carbs. Be careful what carbs you eat and how much. Eat less of the processed grains such as white rice, bread and pasta. These do not have great nutritional value so you’re adding carbs without all the good stuff. Click the link at the end of this e-mail to learn more about processed grains. And avoid the devil: Sugar! Nothing spikes insulin levels like sugar and this ultimately means gaining fat. No good for health and no good for endurance sport.

More than anything else people battle to stop eating sugar and sugary foods. Why? Sugar is in so many foods it’s scary. About 2 weeks ago I learned that sugar is even included in some fish pastes…crazy. This means that most peoples’ bodies depend on sugar for energy more than they should so it’s become almost essential. It’s not only that you want and like the sweetness in a piece of cake. Your body’s cravings convince you that you ‘need’ it!

So if you could actually change your body’s craving for sugar that would be a big part of a lifestyle change. It’s easy to avoid sugar when you don’t need or want it. For a start don’t keep sugary foods at home. You’ll find that if they aren’t there you miss them less.

This is also where Sportfasting is so good. To start with, you can lose much as 5kg in 10 days, depending on your weight to start, and improve your endurance. But what it also does is switch your body to using more fat and less sugar for energy. So afterwards you won’t feel the same craving for sugar as you did before the program. That’s why we consider Sportfasting a lifestyle change, not a diet. Then you’ll find it a lot easier to avoid sugar and probably will think about it way less.

Stay fit
Gregg
‘BMI Calculator’
‘Processed grains’

Has winter affected your weight?

After winter people often weigh a little more and/or aren’t quite as fit as they were at the end of summer. We train less because of the cold and we tend to comfort eat more. So very often it’s a double barrelled problem.

Maybe you pick up 2kg over winter and even the summer training doesn’t get rid of it because exercise doesn’t always. This pattern repeats for a few years and without realising it you’re 10kg heavier than 5 years ago. So you may be fit and a little overweight at the same time. Being healthy is a combination of fitness and weight. The heavier we are the harder our bodies must work to pump blood and the more weight our bones and muscles have to carry, and so on.

So extra weight has a bigger impact than on only your appearance. And obviously 10kg is a lot tougher to lose than 2kg, especially when you’re older and not as motivated. Obviously the easiest solution is to eat less in winter to compensate for your reduced training. But this doesn’t always happen and getting back to your old self early in spring would be good.

Your body has likely developed an even bigger craving for sugar than before winter. More time indoors and more chocolate will do that. And it will probably be less efficient at burning fat for energy. This is part of the reason it’s difficult to lose weight after winter even when training normally again. Your body has become even more reliant on sugar and this is where your energy for training comes from.

You can train harder until the weight hopefully comes off or change your diet for an extended period of time. Or you could do a Sportfasting program and lose a bunch of weight in 10 days. As in our last e-mail ‘The long game’ some people carry on losing weight for quite some time after the program. They lose their craving for sugar and their body is better able to burn fat for energy.

The program is R3 395 and is 10 days long. It includes supplements including an amino blend that is like gold, a meal by meal plan and a training plan that Paul tailors for you. Plus we give you tips for weight maintenance after the program and we’re open to as many questions as you want before, during and after the program. If Sportfasting is good enough for elite cyclists then chances are it will help you.

Stay fit
Gregg

The Long Game!

We have often touched on the concept of lifestyle changes being the only way to truly maintain your weight-loss and overall well being. There are no quick fixes! All realistic people know this and it is one of the reasons we are so confident in the concept of Sportfasting. It is one of the quickest fixes available in a world where real results take time.

The Sportfasting program is very tough and takes discipline to complete. But the 10 days is really a very short time within which a major long term change takes place in your body. Donovan Brink is a perfect example of this. 2 years ago Donovan decided he wanted to lose weight and try improve his cycling, specifically his 94.7 personal best time. He did the Sportfasting program and lost 4.5kg and achieved a sub 2hr45min time racing in the C bunch of the 94.7, a result he was pleased with.

The reason for this email is simply to show how Sportfasting is not only to lose weight and get fitter for a short period of time. Very often it is the catalyst for an improved way of life and overall improved feeling of well being. Yesterday I caught up with Donovan and he told me how doing the program all that time ago totally changed the way he viewed his diet and his lifestyle.

He loved the way it made him feel and it sparked a change in his general habits but he just had to emphasise to me how he still lives pretty much how he wants! He never foregoes a social event, he does not starve or deny himself any of his major pleasures including wine , pizza and Savanna dry (Savanna, really?). The big BUT is that he is aware of when to keep things in check, skip a meal here and there, cut out sugars and processed carbs and replace them with protein and veg.

He has done two Keep the Switch Mini fasts in the 2 year period which no doubt has helped him maintain this new level of fitness, weight and well-being.

He cycles and runs regularly as a hobby and makes sure that he has fun doing it, he does not make it a chore. What struck me most about the chat we had was his gratitude to Sportfasting for the way it changed his approach to his lifestyle. Another benefit for him has been a big decrease in his cholesterol levels and this was evident already 14 days after completing the program. Studies by Sportfasting Holland are planned to see if the program does in fact lower cholesterol. Hopefully one day we can state it as fact.

My conclusion is that while there are no quick fixes to maintaining a healthy life, Sportfasting has to be one of the quickest ways to achieve a great result as well as giving you the ‘tools’ to maintain this result.

Paul

Is age a good excuse?

Ok, it’s not completely true. Age is a decent excuse but not to the extent it’s often used. When people pass 40 (later this year for me…damn) age becomes an excuse either for worse athletic performance or increased weight. People say: “I’m getting on and I can’t do what I used to”, or “Yes, but I’m over 40 now so I can’t help the weight.” If you’re still young save this e-mail for awhile or read it now because it’s interesting.

For sure there is an age when you are at your peak. For endurance sport this is probably in your late 20’s to early 30’s. Some even compete at the highest level into their 40’s. Chris Horner won the Vuelta a España (Spains Tour de France and one of the three Grand Tours) in 2013 at almost 42 years old. Constantina Dita Tomescu won the woman’s marathon at The Beijing Olympics in 2008 aged 38. For sure they’re exceptions because while you can keep a high level as you age you’re a bit of a freak doing what they did.

What happens to our bodies as we age? The simplest way to explain is this: VO2 max is a measure of how well our bodies use oxygen. How much oxygen can your lungs take in, how well can your blood transport it and how efficiently can your muscles use it. There are other factors but in general the higher your VO2 max the better you’ll be at endurance sport.

After 30 your VO2 max can start to decline. While it’s difficult to increase VO2 max much through legal methods you can slow the decline through high intensity training and in fact some studies show almost stop it. It seems that lots of long slow exercise doesn’t help lessen VO2 max decline much.

So we need to take a different approach to exercise as we age. All things being equal we’ll never be as good as our younger selves but for sure we can still look and feel good and produce pretty damn good endurance performances. We have to train smarter and be aware that our bodies are different. Fewer training sessions, less hours and more quality including some high intensity. Cross training including weight lifting and stretching can help maintain muscle mass and flexibility and prevent injury from too much endurance training. Take rest days where you do something different, so cycle or swim instead of run. And while you should always get plenty of sleep it becomes even more important for older athletes.

One of the biggest challenges as we age is motivation. This also plays a part in why older endurance athletes don’t perform as well…they’ve had enough of the effort and energy required to maintain a high level. This isn’t only about athletic performance. The same applies if your goal is to keep healthy and in shape. You can’t and probably don’t want to do the same you used to, but you can be pretty fit and healthy and in better shape than a bunch of youngsters.

Stay fit and healthy
Gregg

How to maintain your weight

We thought suggestions to drop some weight and/or keep weight down, even if you don’t have the time or motivation to take on a Sportfasting program at the moment could add value.

Let’s be totally frank, doing a 10 day Sportfasting program or even the 3 day ‘Mini Fast’ is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Of course the results are fantastic but sometimes we just cannot bring ourselves to commit to it.

If you are feeling a bit like this at the moment but still want to control your weight or maybe improve your fitness a little, here are some very helpful suggestions.

  1. Cut out all carbs from your evening meal. Stick to protein and vegetables. Plain yoghurt(unsweetened) for dessert.
  2. If you run/cycle or swim in the mornings, do this before having anything to eat. Training this way on an empty stomach will stimulate your fatty metabolism (if you are doing interval training then it is advisable to eat a bit before or during)
  3. Try having a coffee in the morning before you train (no sugar of course). This too will help stimulate metabolism.
  4. During your training runs/cycles swap energy drinks for plain water. Whilst the carbs in the usual energy drinks assist you during your session, it is unnecessary calories you are taking in (interval training is different though so on these occasions no problem).
  5. Once a week, skip one of your main meals (lunch / supper) but still do your training on that day.

These very basic things will make a marked difference to your weight and your body’s ability to metabolise fat.

Hope you find this helpful
Paul

Diet or Exercise

The popular argument is that diet is more important than exercise. This is probably because when your diet is bad it’s the easiest thing to change to lose weight or be healthier. If breakfast is Coco Pops, lunch is McDonalds with coke and supper is Pizza with coke then it’s easy to lose weight or be healthier. Cut out the pizza for grilled fish or grilled chicken for example and your already on the way to losing weight and being healthier.

So from this point of view diet is more important…because it’s easier to change. What if you’re already eating reasonably well? Then it’s tougher to lose weight or be healthier because you can’t improve diet as easily. Then you have to add exercise to lose weight and loads of people hate exercise, so anything is easier.

Simply put it’s easier to eat healthy than exercise which is why everyone talks about diet.

Why can’t you do both? Many people use the excuse of working long days and having a family. Look at the people you work with and chances are you’ll find someone who works as much as you with a family and still exercises. It takes a mindset change but once you’re in the habit it’s not so difficult.

In addition exercise isn’t only about losing eight. It has many benefits including strengthening your heart and muscles, lowering your cholesterol, improving muscle tone and strength and releasing endorphins which is a chemical that is almost like a happy drug. So a slender person who eats well but doesn’t exercise may appear as healthy on the outside as someone who also exercises but you can guess who the healthier probably is.

Really you should eat well and at do at least some exercise…and we probably all know that. Sportfasting can give you a jump start to losing weight and getting the benefits exercise gives. In 10 days you can take a huge leap that could otherwise take 2 months. We often find that it sets people on a healthier path so they keep exercising and eating well even after the program. Feel free to e-mail paul@sportfasting-sa.com to ask any questions you want.

Stay fit and healthy
Gregg

Magic Food

Magic food

We all look for that magic snack or magic meal. The snack that’s sweet and creamy with low carbs and low fat, the meal that’s comforting, nutritious and delicious. And a sweet and care free health drink wouldn’t be bad either. We want it all in everything we eat or drink, health and endless amounts of flavour. In fact if the food and drink also removes the negatives from other bad food even better.

I’ll let you all in on something which you probably already know or at least suspect…it doesn’t exist. Yip, if you want to eat healthy there is no magic food or drink with everything you want. At some stage you’ll have to give up something, flavour or health. For sure you can make healthy flavourful meals, but you’re not going to match a rich pasta with loads of cheese or a steak loaded with bad fat for flavour.

I enjoy the vegetables and lean protein I eat and by now am quite used to this. I’m excited at meal time but for sure my luxury food is a rich meaty fatty pasta and pudding for dessert. Clearly this isn’t going to keep me healthy or help me achieve my fitness goals. So I’ve given up a bunch of flavour but I’m very happy with what I’ve gained.

You could argue that a juicy peach is as good as a chocolate, or grilled fish with black pepper and olive oil as good as a juicy hamburger with cheese and tomato sauce. But let’s face it when you think of being a little naughty you’re thinking of the chocolate and hamburger.

There are some healthy foods though that are so good you feel like you’re cheating. I’m not going to go through a long list of these now but I’ll say that my favourite is avocado. It originated in Mexico and obviously has spread to many places the world over. An avocado is rich in good fats and has nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. Would you believe an avocado has no glycemic index! That flavour along with those nutritious qualities is why it’s so high up on my awesome foods list.

And if you are a Sportfaster and your body is a fat burning machine you can use loads of that fat for energy. If you want to ‘Make the switch’ and start burning fat for energy reply to this e-mail and we’ll be in touch. If there is such a thing as ‘superfoods’ check out the link below to see this articles list of 8 superfoods and why they’re so good.

‘Superfoods’

Stay fit
Gregg

Sugar in winter

For May and a bit of June we were really lucky, but now we are now caught in the middle of a real winter. For most people cold means more time indoors, more time in front of the tv and more sugary snacks. I’ve talked about sugar being the enemy before but reckon pointing it out again won’t hurt anyone.
As a rough guide The American Heart Association says a man shouldn’t have more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day and a woman 6. But what are the risks associated with too much sugar and how do we add sugar to our diet?

We all know that sugar adds weight to your body. So while it doesn’t come into your body as fat if it isn’t used in a hurry it will become fat. Without going into the science behind it too much sugar over a long period of time causes havoc with insulin levels. Simply put, insulin is the hormone released to regulate your blood sugar level. As a matter of interest your liver has the ability to convert fat into glucose although it’s not your bodies preferred way of getting glucose.

While there is no proof some studies suggest that high sugar intake and being overweight causes type 2 diabetes…probably something we’d all like to avoid. I reckon the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is enough to want to keep you sugar intake low. If not though, very high levels of insulin (which can be caused by high sugar intake) is also linked to some cancers and heart disease.

This is some very basic info simply to show what lots of sugar can do to you. We all know we shouldn’t have much but people still tend to overdo it and maybe it’s because they aren’t aware of what can happen.

If you need a sugar fix go for natural sugar. Fruit, vegetables and even the sugar naturally in milk or yoghurt. Natural sugar has nutritional benefit whereas added sugar (ie. Sugar we have made) has been stripped of it’s goodness and is calories without the health benefits. Natural sugar is generally also released into your body slower and there isn’t that same shock to your system as with added sugar. If you need something sweet rather go for some yoghurt with berries or even simply a piece of fruit. A ripe juicy peach or nectarine is hard to beat.

But even if you manage to avoid added sugar it’s not that unusual to pick up some weight during winter. You couldn’t go that far wrong with Sportfasting for some weight loss in a hurry, and endurance improvement if that’s what you want…in only 10 days. It’s so good it’s almost like cheating. If you buy because of this e-mail until 24 June we’ll give you 10% off the listed price.
Stay fit and healthy
Gregg