GOOD MORNING!

I love adding slices of citrus fruits to my water to make it a little more thirst quenching and regularly have a glass of lemon water each morning.

Lately I have been making some juice that is a more concentrated to kick start my morning. I call this juice good morning! With its citrus and slightly tart punch it is enough to wake any one up.

This juice mix is full of health benefits without being full of sugar like most other juices. Whilst juices are a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals they are often highly concentrated in sugar (fructose) which can send your blood sugar levels up very quickly. Lemon is a fruit that is low in sugar containing just 2.5g per 100g; a huge difference when you compare this to apples 10g, bananas 12g or mangos 14g.

Some of the benefits of this simple concoction are;

  • Get your daily dose of vitamins: vitamin C, B6, A, E, potassium and more
  • Assists to cleanse your liver and aid digestion
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Studies have also shown that lemon juice can aid in eliminating the occurrence of kidney stones
  • Help control blood pressure for those with high blood pressure
  • It’s tasty & refreshing

What you need:

Ingredients

  • 2 x lemons
  • 1 x orange
  • 400ml water
  • Crushed ice

Method

  • Peel and de-seed lemons and orange
  • Cut into quarters and place into blender of choice (If serving immediately add some cubed ice blocks)
  • Once the fruit is well blended, add the water and blend for another 3-4 minutes. If you wish to have a more concentrated juice add less water. However adding water helps to dilute the fructose

Like all fresh juices it is best to consume soon after making them, however I find the above ingredients make enough to last me one glass a morning for about three mornings. It is best to refrigerate in an air tight container and shake each morning prior to drinking.


DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PROTEIN!

Like its fellow macronutrients fat and carbs – protein is often followed by controversy around optimal intake, benefits and potential health effects when consumed in excess.

The optimal protein intake for building muscle, losing body fat and helping with recovery is widely discussed, and so it should be! Protein is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in fuelling our bodies during training and assists in the building and repairing of muscle tissues. But with so much information out there around high protein - low carb diets and thousands of protein supplements on the market, you might be asking yourself; how much protein should I be eating? When should I be eating it? And are there certain types that I should be consuming? All great questions to be asking as the quantity, quality and timing of protein intake are three important factors if maintaining lean muscle mass, improving recovery and weight loss / maintenance are your goals.

How much Protein?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8grams per kilo of body weight per day. For a 60kg female this equates to 48grams of protein per day. It is important to note the RDA is based on the requirements of sedentary individuals and represents the amount of consumption required to avoid deficiency - this is not an ideal recommendation for those pursuing an increase in lean muscle mass. Studies have shown a protein intake greater than the RDA is needed for optimal growth and recovery, and a greater requirement exists for those undertaking regular resistance exercise. This increased need is required to optimize development, repair and maintenance of muscle. For active individuals training approximately five times per week could consume 2.0g/kg/body weight per day without adverse health effects and to maximize muscle protein synthesis. For a 60kg female this would be ~120g protein per day. Be sure to spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day and try to incorporate it in every meal to allow for maximal muscle protein synthesis (60kg female, 120g/day, across five meals = ~25g of protein per meal). When it comes to protein consumption and training, a dose of 20-25grams as soon as possible after exercise is beneficial. This amount is generally found in a serve of protein shake, five to six egg whites or 80-100g of chicken breast.

 What type of protein?

 From protein shakes of whey, hydrolyzed WPI , casein and soy, to foods such as eggs, meat and milk, no wonder there is confusion as to what form of protein is best, and when. Studies have revealed there are varying effects on the form of protein ingested post training. It is recommended a high quality dose of protein such as dairy, egg or lean meat post workout is beneficial to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis. These proteins are fast-digesting, so emptied from the stomach at a greater rate. This could be in the form a WPI shake, low fat milk (has been shown to be more superior over soy proteins) or pre prepared chicken breast for those that may be lactose free. These sources also contain the branched chain amino acid leucine, which has been shown to further assist with building muscle and burning fat. Casein and blended protein powders (often containing a mixture of casein and WPI), is relatively insoluble and forms a gelatinous material when ingested (or mixed with yoghurt = delicious!). Due to this jelly like property, casein has a slower rate of digestion, and promotes a slow, but steady released of amino acids into the body. Best to save casein protein for later in the day or as a ‘night time’ protein to assist in recovery overnight. Keep those fast absorbing, high quality proteins immediately post exercise.

 Timing

Studies have looked into the various timing and effectiveness of protein ingestion pre, during and post workout. Many of us may consume branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) during or ‘intra’ workout. The consumption of BCAA’s during resistance training has been shown to enhance muscle protein synthesis during exercise, suppress muscle protein breakdown and enhance protein balance during and after exercise. The biggest bang for your buck in terms of timing of protein ingestion, to promote the most favourable effect is as possible following exercise. This will assist in reducing muscle damage, enhance recovery and promote lean muscle improvements. So be sure to keep a protein shake, recovery bar or pre-packed meal in your gym bag to maximize your hard work and keep those gains.

Like most things in life, too much of one thing is generally never good. Make sure that you don’t replace other important macronutrients such as fat and carbohydrates with protein. If you do so, especially with carbohydrates, it can lead to a more rapid rate of fatigue, performance is likely to suffer and in extreme cases, other nutrient deficiencies can be of concern. Bottom line; if lean muscle mass is your goal, get the quantity, quality and timing right and the results will follow. Approximately 20grams of high quality protein (think Maxine’s Burn protein powder), as soon as possible following resistance training - don’t underestimate the power of protein!

Source: http://www.balancefitnessandnutrition.com....

IS YOUR DIET DOING YOU DAMAGE?

Is your DIET doing you DAMAGE?

Social media is swarming with stunning fit women with flawless figures, often documenting their life or journey to better health. The number of women that are setting goals and participating in fitness competitions is rapidly increasing each season. Having a goal to compete is fantastic, you have a timeframe, it’s specific, achievable and realistic (in most cases – if the timeframe is appropriate), and should have a positive impact on your health. There is nothing more rewarding than stepping on stage knowing that you have reached your goal and that your hard work after months of prepping, early starts, late finishes, aching muscles, food prep, consistency and mental battles has paid off. But what happens to our bodies when we have been exercising excessively and restricting our intake of food and nutrients for long periods of time? 

There are many different coaches and approaches to competition preparation; from those that are qualified, experienced and have their clients best interest at heart, to the amateur competitor who has won a few comps, thinks what worked for them will work for you and may be more concerned with boosting their individual profile on social media.

balance fitness nutrition

Behind the success and selfies, there are the less discussed health concerns that can affect females. Consisting of patterns of disordered eating, menstrual disturbances and low bone mass, referred to as the female athlete triad. These implications are particularly common in women taking part in events or sports that emphasize leanness (such as competing), but also common in those that have very low energy availability and exercise for extended periods of time. Low energy availability is a factor that impairs the reproductive health in women. Insufficient energy can lead to dysfunction in the menstrual cycle, decreasing circulating levels of oestrogen and other hormones within the body. Low energy availability and excessive energy output, can lead to metabolic damage, and in the longer term affect bone health through reducing bone mass.

Reproductive hormones may be the last things on a competitors mind whilst on the journey to the stage or a slimmer figure, but there are serious implications on female reproductive hormones from excessive exercise and restricted intake. Menstrual disturbances or lack of cycle and low bone mass can also be common in individuals undertaking extreme eating behaviors accompanied by grueling training and exercise sessions.

Disordered eating behaviors are commonly associated with the underlying energy restriction through food restriction, selective avoidance of food groups, binge eating, or dysfunctional eating patterns such as skipping meals. Whilst reading this a few things may spring to mind; this sounds like you, or what about that girl from the gym who was telling you about her own comp prep experience, or your friend from work that displays these eating behaviors? Behaviors such as intense fear of weight gain, weight loss through food restriction, excessive exercise or both and behaviors such as laxatives and vomiting can all contribute to irregularity of period. So whilst you may still be having regular menstrual cycles, it is important to understand the longer term implications associated with over exercise and under eating, and recognize the symptoms if they appear.

It is important to note that the health concerns discussed can occur with or without eating disorders, as the scale from optimal intake to low energy availability ranges greatly. It is important to recognize and treat the signs to reduce the associated risks.

Are you at risk?
- Do you restrict your food intake and diet?
- Do you exercise for prolonged periods of time, or a number of times per day?
- Do you limit the types of food you eat – don’t do carbs, no fruit, ‘food rules’?
- Are you vegetarian?

Also ensure that if you set the goal to compete, that you are doing it for the right reasons. This will help with taking a balanced approached, avoiding extremes and will be more likely to reach your goal.

Reasons to compete:
- You love training / physical fitness
- You need a challenge / new goal to work towards
- You can handle criticism (Competing is a very subjective sport)
- You have a good support group that will cheer you on every step of the way

Reasons not to compete:
- You hate the gym / training / exercise
- You have an injury or pre-existing medical condition
- You are doing it to impress or beat someone, win back a boyfriend, boost your social media -profile, or want a sponsorship deal.

Whilst it is completely normal to log your food diary on my fitness pal, count calories, weigh foods and portion sizes, and this is the key to success in many sports, including competing, there can sometimes be a fine line between success for sport and disordered eating. Ensure you look past short-term success of extremes and a trophy, to ensure long term reproductive, skeletal and bone health. The first line of treatment for restoring menstrual dysfunction is through decreasing energy expenditure and increasing food intake. Simply put, rest and a balanced, plentiful diet will help overcome these symptoms if identified. 

Prep smarter not harder, for long-term health, rather than short-term success! x

EXTREMES ARE EASY. STRIVE FOR BALANCE

Welcome to Balance Fitness and Nutrition - I am so excited to be launching the BFN web page!

Here you will find delicious recipe ideas, fitness tips, lifestyle inspo, blogs on things I love (or don’t), and how to get in touch with me should you wish to get some help on achieving that balance. Be sure to check in regularly so you don't miss a thing! 

What does balance mean to you?

Balance - harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts and elements.

Balance is something that we all strive for in life, whether it is the work/life, friends/family or save/spend balance. It is in a constant state of flux and needs to be actively worked on in order to maintain it.

Extreme - Of the greatest severity; drastic.

We have probably all undergone some form of extreme in our life, and sure it can be easy, but is it sustainable?

Why work hard day in, day out before an upcoming event or holiday, only for that event to pass or the holiday to arrive and all of your hard work goes out the window. You are then left feeling deflated (and maybe a little bloated), and like you need to start all over again.

I am a huge believer in finding nutritious foods and forms of physical activity that you enjoy. If you enjoy something, you are more likely to commit to it and in turn succeed and reach your goals. I believe whole, nutritious foods and daily physical activity are valuable tools that can be utilised to help keep our minds and bodies running at their optimum. Movement and food can be the best medicine and most of us don’t know how good our bodies are designed to feel.

Our overall health, quality of sleep and happiness are all heavily influenced by how we fuel our bodies. It is a constant cycle that can go two ways;

  • When you are tired, you make bad food choices and can’t be bothered exercising (or vice versa). Quality of sleep is then impacted due to the poor dietary choices and lack of physical activity. This cycle continues the next day you wake from a poor night’s sleep feeling tired, sluggish, irritated and sometimes depressed.
  • When you are physically active you are more likely to want to fuel your body with nutritious, plentiful food, which in turn improves our quality of sleep and mental well-being.

To be happy with others, we need to first be happy with ourselves, so put yourself first – wellness starts from within.

I hope that my website provides you with a source of inspiration to help you on your quest for balance.

 Enjoy! X


Thank you Pure Design Co for helping me make this happen.