Meatza Recipe

I love Pizza. I mean I absolutely love it. And when I start eating it there is no natural off switch from my brain, no auto regulation at all.

Pizza, sadly, does not love me. Shortly after eating it, bloating, discomfort and mild self loathing ensues.

I generally don’t eat grains at all, and definitely not bread. Pizza is my gateway drug to gastric oblivion. I need an alternative. I’ve tried cauliflower pizza bases, but they are a bit of a faff, and for me, just don’t cut it.

Enter the Meatza. A fabled dish, discussed in awe filled, hushed tones in crossfit boxes and Paleo meets. The bread base discarded and replaced with a firm, filling meat alternative.

At first this sounded wrong to me. So entrenched was I in conventional pizza wisdom that I shunned this Primal endorsed chimera, this Frankenstein-esque freak of nature.

Finally after a pizza dough fuelled episode of rolling around on the floor in discomfort, I gave in to the idea.

Now this is obviously not for everyone. Non meat eaters probably don’t need to read on. Check out Girl Gone Primal’s Cauli base above (sorry not Vegan). she has a load of great recipes.

Meatza is essentially very simple. We are just replacing the classic dough with a base made of of quality ground/minced meat.

So here goes

Gluten Free Meatza

Prep Time: 15-20 mins

Cooking time: 15-20 mins

Servings: 2 *

(*Should easily be enough for 2 with a nice side salad. I still manage to not auto regulate my pizza consumption and can easily eat the whole lot. I am working through this)

Ingredients 

Meat base:

approx. 500g of minced meat (beef, chicken, turkey, pork. I’ve not tried lamb yet but any should work).

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Pepper

1/2 tsp Garlic powder or a chopped clove

Any kind of dried herbs you like.

Topping:

What ever the hell you like. Choice is limited only by your own imagination and the human gag reflex. But this is what I like:

Tomato sauce/topping. I just use a decent puree

Sliced Onions

Capers

Olives

Cherry tomatoes

Peppers

Cheese – Mozzarella (i like simple chedder)

Goats cheese

Good quality local Chorizo (yes, meat on a meatza is excessive)

Chilli flakes.

Instructions:

Mix up the the mince meat with the salt and spices.

Lay some baking parchment onto a shallow sided baking/pizza tray.

Flatten out the meat onto the parchment and press it out until it covers the tray to a thickness of about 1cm. I just use my hands, but you can cover it with another piece of parchment and use a rolling pin.

Bang this into a pre-heated oven at 200 degree C for 10-15 minutes. When it looks cooked through take it out and carefully drain of any of the liquid in the tray.

Load it up with whatever toppings your heart desires and  pop it back in the oven until the topping is cooked to your desired finish. I like my cheese starting to crisp.

Take it out of the oven and serve, remembering that this is enough for 2, you greedy b**tard.

It is immensely filling so try not to get too carried away.

Enjoy.

Introducing the new Wild-Fitness Primal Health Challenge

Introducing the new Wild-Fitness Primal Health Challenge

Interested in losing some Christmas love handles?

Want to be a healthier, stronger, more robust version of yourself for 2017?

Are you tired of making positive changes only to regress back to how you were before?

Then why not give something different a try?

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The Wild Fitness Primal Health Challenge is a 10 week programme designed to enable you to make health changes that stick.

By making small, daily behaviour changes, we will be laying the foundations for better lifelong health, longevity, body composition and resilience.

“What does that even mean, Glenn?”

In short, you will be setting yourself up to LIVE LONGER, MOVE BETTER, MOVE FASTER, BE STRONGER, LOOK EVEN BETTER NAKED, AND BE MUCH HARDER TO KILL.

“Well, that does sound great, Glenn, especially the ‘looking good naked’ bit. But it does sound like hard work.”

This is the beauty of the Wild-Fitness approach. This isn’t your classic NO PAIN, NO GAIN system. We are making small, achievable daily goals that add up to make much larger changes. By taking smaller steps to greater health we will be rewriting lifestyle habits with newer, cleaner ones. This will mean that after the 10 weeks are up we are going to be far more likely to continue on this path of health and well being. By following this challenge we can make 2017 our strongest, healthiest year yet.

“That sounds easy. I’m in!”

Whoa there. No-one said it would be ‘easy’. If it was easy then you’d already be doing it. It is easy to implement, but notice that the title is ‘Health CHALLENGE’. You will be challenged at some point through the 10 weeks, but maybe not on what you’d expect.

So what does it entail and why is it different?

The Wild-Fitness Primal Health Challenge follows a system of choices and activities that best align us with how we are biologically designed to live. Technological advances can be a great and powerful tool for human advancement, but it can also mean we overlook some of the fundamental requirements for a healthy human body. This challenge aims at redressing this. I’m not suggesting we turn our backs on modern trappings and form a new tribe up here in the woods (I’m not saying no to this either), I’m suggesting we make appropriate choices that keep our bodies and minds sharp, as nature intended, whilst enjoying and utilising the conveniences of our modern world.

The challenge runs for 10 weeks and consists of 2 evenings (Wednesday and Friday) and one morning (Sunday).

The evening sessions will comprise of our ‘exercise’ sessions. This will primarily focus on strength and conditioning work, along with mobility.fitness_pyramid_bw

 

The strength and conditioning will be based around 4 primal movement patterns utilising body-weight only. These are an upper body pull, upper body push, a squat, and a plank hold.

Why strength training and not cardio?

We will go into this in more detail through the course, but in brief, strength/resistance training has time and time again be shown to aid fat-loss far more than cardio alone. And worry not about becoming ‘Bulky’, ladies. We will also be looking to slay this false fitness myth. Cakes make us bulky, strength training makes us lean.

It is suitable for absolutely all fitness levels. You will each get an individual workout programme based on an initial assessment, which gives you a personalised progression through each of the movements. As you improve with each movement you progress through the levels of difficulty.

You’ll do this in small groups to give each other the support and encouragement needed and to help keep each other accountable. In the strength and conditioning session, the only person that you are in competition with is yourself.

The rest of the session will comprise of discussion, queries, mobility work to keep you supple and some form of play. The last part is very important, hysterical laughter is one of the best ab workouts I know.

 

The Sunday morning session will be a bit of a wild card. This session will vary from week to week and will be the time that we can cover the whole range of other important topics relating to optimal health.

These will include:

Healthy Nutritional ChoicesYou can’t out-train a bad diet! We will look at what foods make us fat and contribute to ill health (some surprises in stall for you here). You’ll all get food lists; green list- eat as much as you like; amber list – eat in moderation; red list – best to avoid/eat sparingly.

No restrictive, calorie counting, hunger inducing, misery ridden diets here. Just honest, real, fulfilling foods.

We may even discover why salad is so funny.

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women laughing at salad. (source: http://www.rigneygraphics.com)

The importance of Sleep.  Something we all know yet few of us implement. We’ll look at just how important sleep really is to us and its impact on health and fat-loss. We discuss the dos and don’ts of getting decent sleep, and tactics for improving we what get and dealing with poor sleep. We’ll also be reviving the ultimate tool for health, The Disco Nap.

Mobility and movement. Yet another much underrated aspect of health. We’ll be keeping our bodies loose and supple which will in turn allow us to keep them strong. The human body was designed to move with grace and efficiency, allowing us to transition from one position effortlessly to another. Let’s get it back on track.

Hydration. The importance of water and hydration. For many of us today, we are in a constant state of dehydration. Many of us confuse the sensation of dehydration with hunger, leading us to snack unnecessarily. One of our daily challenges is to drink enough water.

Relaxation/Meditation. We will have a session on relaxation and meditation to allow our minds to reset from the constant barrage of modern living. You’ll get tips and tricks of how to implement these techniques on a day to day basis to allow you to deal with stress.

Low Level Activity. Immensely important for health and fat-loss, and sadly so simple that it is usually overlooked and considered ineffectual. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Daily/regular low level exercise (think walks, gentle jogs, bike rides) have an incredible effect on the body. If done at the correct intensity (not too high), they burn heaps of fat as well as increase our cardio potential. Going slower can literally improve our abilities to go faster and harder when the occasion calls for it. We’ll have daily goals for this.

 

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source: quotefancy.com

 

Mindfulness. The ability to be in the moment and increase awareness may not seem at first to be a primary concern to physical well-being, however, so many of our bad health and food choices tend to be made in a very unconscious, unthinking manner. Being truly mindful of the tasks at hand will allow us to navigate the pitfalls ahead. Bringing our minds back into our bodies will also allow us to judge whether to scale our efforts back, thereby avoiding injury, or to forge on ahead at a greater effort.

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Gratitude. Whilst being honest and critical with ourselves is an important part of our health challenge, constantly gazing up the metaphorical fitness mountain can be a daunting thing. It is therefore important that we take stock and appreciate how far we have come, what we have achieved and what we have to be thankful for. A daily 5 min gratitude exercise can be an incredibly powerful tool for health and well-being.

 

Making this a game.

As I said our strength and conditioning sessions are non competitive (other than with youselves). Equally this is not a ‘Biggest Loser‘ type of affair focusing on how much and how quickly someone can lose ‘weight’. This is about making you the healthies version of you.

That being said, a little healthy competition is never a bad thing.

 

Each week you will gain points by completing the different tasks, eg completing both strength and conditioning sessions,  drinking the required volume of water each day,  daily stretch/mobility drill,  8 hour sleep etc.

 

At the end of the 10 weeks these points will be totalled and the highest point scorer will win a prize and be heralded as the Ultimate Primal Health Challenge Bad-Ass (this title may change).

And to keep track of your progress everyone will get a booklet and you can also sign up for the App so you can record your data, progress and points, from your phone, pc or tablet. I know, technology has finally tracked me down.

 

There will also be a private Facebook site for all participants to share their stories, progress and questions. There will be videos demonstrating the different exercise movements and challenges, and anytime email availability from me to answer any queries you have or to meet you to go over any issues that may arise.

So who is this programme not for?

If you are looking for a ‘No Pain, No Gain’ military style boot-camp, or any other kind of suffer fest, then this is not for you. I get it, I really do. I love the sensation of putting my body through the fitness crucible and seeing how it comes out the other side. But this is not the place for this. Contact me about some of my other programmes and classes. I’m happy to help.

Equally, if you are looking to lose the biggest amount of weight/body fat as quickly as possible then this is also not for you. This programme is about making long-term changes for lifelong health. If you’re desperate to lose some body fat for an intended timescale then feel free to contact me about doing this safely and efficiently.

This programme starts on the 18th January at 7pm in An Coire, An Carn, 132A Tirkane road, Maghera, BT46 5NH

There will also be an information evening on Wednesday 11th January at 7pm in An Coire.

Feel free to contact me or call 07546552880.

Stay strong.

gx

 

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pb_cert_expert_white

Primal Health Coach

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Running Wild

An Carn 5k Run May 16 (1)

Running Wild round Droim nDamh Nature Reserve – Wild-Fitness

Well summer truly feels like it has arrived, as indicated by the fact that people have started to complain about the heat.

Our Couch to 5km programme has entered it’s penultimate week, and the participants are all doing amazingly. It never fails to amaze me how much progression people make in such a short time. For some, they struggled with running for a minute on week 1 but by week 7 are running for 25 minutes straight, in uncomfortable heat, with minimal moaning. I know that they will all smash this weeks schedule as well.

So what makes this C25K different from many of the others cropping up everywhere?

Well, apart from the obvious reason of my charm and charisma, It has to be the venue.

We are following a fairly standard C25K programme, but the venue is anything but standard. Whilst many programmes will have you running laps of a pitch or track (death by repetition to me) or running round town streets, Droim nDamh (Drumnaph) offers something more for the mind, body, and even the spirit.

 

Running around Droim nDamh’s stony and undulating paths means every footfall is differen, so the muscles in the feet, legs and core have to react differently with every step. This builds far greater strength and stability than running on a homogeneous pitch or a track. It’s harder, yes, and it will take someone a bit longer to run it, but they will all the stronger and healthier for it.

Running around Droim nDamh any time of the year is a marvelous experience, but right now it’s pretty special. From the cool breeze along the Droim (ridge), to the stunning coconut scent of the Aiteann (whin/gorse) along the Loch Bran Trail, from the shaded shelter of the seanchoill (ancient woodland) on the woodland trail, to the dappled babbling of the Abhainn na Griollaí (Grillagh River) along the Ruachan Trail. It’s crying out to be explored.

Away from the monotony of running in circles, or the blast of noise and stench of city traffic, Droim nDamh really does offer itself as a tearmann (sanctuary/refuge) from the hustle and bustle of a chaotic modern life.

Running through the reserve, the only sounds I hear are that of birdsong, breeze through the leaves, and the crunching of stones beneath my feet. These somehow make the sound of my laboured breath more musical, more fitting.

Just being out in nature reconnects us to the sense that we are part of something far greater than ourselves, that we are a part of nature not apart from it.

Being in nature has a myriad benefits health-wise, both physically and mentally, many of which have been well documented through research.

So if that’s not enough reasons to start walking/running around Droim nDamh, I don’t know what is.

Come and join us all for a delightful 5km run on the 19th June at 11 am and see what I’m banging on about. Details here.

Hope to see you out there.

gx

Conquering the Mountain

The mountain in this instance is health and fitness and not the gargantuan Hafþór JúlíusThorBjörnsson from Game of Thrones. Admittedly this would be one hell of a workout, but probably ones health would suffer in the long run.

battling the fitness mountain wild fitness

Battling the Fitness Moutain

This morning, as I got up bright and early for a personal training session, the view of Carntogher Mountain took my breath away. Bathed in the early morning sunshine and shrouded in a light, low lying cloud, it could have been a CGI scene from Lord of the Rings. Totally magical. It reminded me that we have just over a month till the annual ‘Rith An Carn/Run the Carn’ 5km mountain race.

It was whilst staring up at the mountain, contemplating a training run with a sense of excitement and no small amount of trepidation, that I thought that a mountain is a great analogy for health and fitness.

Uphill Struggle or Reaching New Heights?

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Fitness is about taking one step at a time.

So you’ve decided that something needs to change. That person looking back at you in the mirror is not the person you want to see each morning. You feel weak. You have aches and pains. You’ve had a wake up call regarding you health that must be answered.

Whatever the reason, the simple act of making the decision to do something about it has set you on the way to better, healthier you. Well done!

 

But standing at the bottom of this new mountain, at the start this new journey of health and fitness, can be quite a daunting experience. But fear not, you are not alone. Everyone feels this way, regardless of their athletic prowess.

Every new challenge I set myself is faced with some doubt as to whether I have the ability to complete it. And the truth is, I never know for sure until I have completed it.

Nagging doubts and fear have their place, but too much is detrimental. For years I have fallen victim to these voices.

Then I remembered two voices from my past, guardian angels you might say.

 

The first voice addresses my doubts and fears:

jibber jabber

Thank you Mr T

The second is my own voice, remembering the man every boy from the 70’s and 80’s wanted (still wants) to be:

what would chuck do

and thank you Chuck

 

At this point I can clearly visualise both Mr T and Chuck Norris giving me that look. Maybe it’s exhaustion, dehydration, or oxygen deprivation, but I know that my two heroes would never let me give up.

When you start a new fitness regime or a new eating strategy it really can feel like an uphill struggle. It feels so hard to keep going and the distant heights don’t seem to be getting any closer.

This is when you have to stop, turn around and look at where you have come from. Every step forward is a step higher. It doesn’t matter how quickly you make it up that mountain, just remember that the higher you go the better the outlook.

This is the key to making it with any health and fitness plan. Stop viewing it as a struggle, a chore. Even the word ‘workout’ carries the connotation of labour and strife.  From this day forth we shall refer to them as fitness adventures, as health expeditions.

View each day/session of your chosen health plan as a ‘challenge’, something to tussle with, sure, but something to inevitably overcome. And if you fail at an attempt? That’s great, because it gives you another chance at that challenge. If things came easy we wouldn’t appreciate the effort and perseverance needed to truly own a skill, of truly conquering that peak.

failure

Failure? It’s just another shot at succeeding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we decide to make the mindset change to stop struggling but rather start challenging and testing ourselves it becomes much more about the journey than the destination.

When we reach that initial peak, whatever our goal was, we realise, with joy, that there are a whole heap of mountains out there waiting for us to discover.

And if we start to feel daunted, we just turn around and see how far we’ve come.

Remember as Lao Tzu said:

The Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

So don’t judge yourself against others, but on the progress you have made. Even the smallest amount of progression is still progress.

You might not be Chuck Norris or Mr T but you deserve to be on this mountain.

See you at the top. x

 

 

Run For Your Lives

For the past month or so I have been running a Sunday S.O.A.S Session, S.O.A.S standing for $#!t off a shovel. This delightful phrase come from the days of steam powered rail. For the train driver and his fireman, the fella shovelling the coal, leaving their designated workspace was not an option. So if one needed to answer the call of nature in a big way, they would do it on the fireman’s shovel. The fireman would then, for politeness and hygiene reasons, quickly toss the offending substance in to the fire. The shovel being coated in coal dust avoided any adhesive issues, further speeding up the process.

And thus the adage $#!t off shovel was born as an expression of awe inspiring speed.

So what is S.O.A.S training? Quite simple it is just moving as fast as you can.

This will of course conjure up images of the  Olympic sprinter, hurtling down the track at breakneck speed. And whilst I am more of an Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards type rather than a Usain Bolt when it comes to running, I still love to sprint.

the eagle

The Eagle

Human beings are designed to run. A whole host of physiological adaptations have brought about this ability. The Nuchal Ligament extends from the base of the skull to the spine and is there to stabilise. It only exists in animals that run. Deer, yes; sheep yes; humans, yes; other apes, no.

The plantar arch of the foot and the Achilles tendon are all perfectly formed to convert kinetic energy to elastic energy. We are coiled springs made flesh.

Then there are the Vestibulo-ocular reflexes. Shake your head from side to side whilst looking at this. You can still read it right? A perfect adaptation for the constantly shifting motion of running. For more fascinating incite into this check out Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run.

The ability to run really fast had obvious benefits to our ancestors. The need to to evade that sabre-tooth stalking up to you and your neighbours would be pretty good incentive to shift into high-gear. You wouldn’t necessarily need to be able to out run a sabre-tooth either, only your neighbour.

Sprinting towards prey in order to catch it could also have been a matter of life and death for our ancestors.

But thankfully life for much of us in the western world has few of theses issues any more. Sprinting for prey now is reserved only for Black Friday and the new  iPhone 7. And our predatory feline population generally are the dealers of pissed off disdain rather than death.

pissed of cat

Sabre-tooth

But despite our relative modern comforts and threat free lives, sprinting is still of great benefit to us. There is of course the obvious advantages to moving quickly. Avoiding danger, rushing to someone’s aid, or for the pure damn joy of it.

There are a whole host of other positive outcomes from sprinting including the following:

Improves insulin sensitivity

Increases energy and alertness

Helps delay ageing process

Improves cognition

Promotes muscular development

Enhances fat loss

Improves blood lipid profiles

Helps increase bone density and strength (when performing high impact sprints, like running)

 

Several scientific studies have confirmed  that high intensity sprint sessions are more effective at promoting fat reduction than other forms of exercise, due to the acceleration effect of fat metabolism and improvements to insulin sensitivity.

Sprinting helps to increase levels of positive adaptive and anti-ageing hormones into the blood stream and enhances protein synthesis helping both men and women build or maintain lean muscle mass.fitness_pyramid_bw

The other advantage? It take very little time to perform.

 

So how do we go about a S.O.A.S session?

This is my general sprint session protocol –

For the sprint session to be optimal we need to be sprinting for between 8-30 seconds. Any less than 8 seconds and it won’t be intense enough, any more than 30 and the effort needed can’t be sustained. We usually do 100m, but this will be too much for many, so scale it back.

We start warming up with some light jogging back and forth at out chosen location, usually on grass.

This is then followed by some dynamic stretching, ie active stretches that move through the whole range of motions. Movements like high knees, walking lunges, walking knee grabs, kicking the heels up to the bum etc. We do a couple of theses forwards and backwards each for about 20m. Stop before you start getting tired.

Next up are ‘wind sprints’. These are runs over our designated distance that start at about 50% intensity and increase to about 90%. we do between 2 and 4 of these.

Now that we are primed and ready to go, we can start our full sprints. These will be focused at around 90% maximum intensity, just short of an actual sabre-tooth attack. We do anywhere from 4-6 repetitions of this. Don’t start from a dead start, give yourself a few metres run up. Definitely don’t come to an abrupt stop! Slow down gradually over at least a 10m distance. Walk back to the start line.

The important thing is adequate recovery between each sprint, enough to bring breathing back to normal. Pay attention to how you are feeling throughout your session. Any pain (as opposed to muscle fatigue), especially in the hamstring area, stop.

Also, this is not a session where we keep going until we’re spent. As soon as your form starts to falter, or the time taken for each sprint starts to increase, then it’s time to call it a day.

It doesn’t matter how fast you are going as long as you are going as fast as you can (90% max or more). So even if this is ‘only’ brisk walking, it will still be doing the same work.

Knee pain or any other previous lower limb injuries may call for some modification. Up hill sprints are probably a safer alternative to running on the flat as there is far less impact to the legs.

Not in to running? No problem. Sprints can be done in a number of ways:

Swimming pools – either swimming or aqua running

Cycling – Road or stationary bike

Rowing

Elliptical cross trainers

Don’t sprint on treadmills though as it can increase the risk of injury.

Check out Mark Sisson’s article on injury prevention for sprinting.

 

And that’s it. I repeat this session every 7-10 days. It really feels like a total body workout. I feel tired but invigorated by it, and whilst I can’t always say I’m looking forward to it, I’m always glad I’ve done it.

So give it a whirl. Reconnect with your hunter gatherer ancestors and try perhaps the most primal workout in history.

 

 

Primal Pancake

DSC02904Who doesn’t love a pancake? That thin edible canvas is just waiting for the next culinary Van Gogh to create a short-lived masterpiece.

The options are endless. Sweet or savoury (wars have been fought over this one), thick or thin, turned or flipped? The myriad fillings available are only limited by the imagination and the human gag reflex.

But one thing that most pancake recipes have in common is the use of wheat flour and milk.

 

So what about those of us that want pancakes yet don’t want to, or can’t have wheat and/or dairy?

Enter the Primal Pancake.

This is my go to recipe based on a load of other recipes and tweaked so that I could get a repeatedly good pancake. Alas, it’s not a foldable/fillable variant, but I love them. As a non cereal grain eater, I use these in place of breakfast cereals, and these puppies fill me up till dinner time.

Ingredients:

For 5-6 servings

4 eggs

Aprox 200g Ground Almonds or enough added to make the right consistency

4 Bananas

1-2 tbl sp of Almond Butter (optional but thickens the mixture)

Liberal sprinkling of crushed seeds (again optional but gives it some bite)

 

Put eggs, bananas and almond butter into a container and blend them up. Slowly add the ground almonds whilst continuing to blend until you reach a thick liquid consistency, similar to a fast food ice-cream  milkshake, i.e. it will pour out of the container in slow motion. Add some crushed seeds for a bit of texture. We use a shop bought packaged variety (with goji berries).

We then stick this in the fridge and dip into it each day.
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To cook them, heat up some coconut oil in the a pan on a medium heat and spoon in a couple of good dollops when the oil is shimmering.  Flip over when the underside is golden brown.

These are fairly sweet to start with from the bananas, so I have never tried them savoury. My favourite way of having them is with berries and thick double cream (I’m okay with dairy) and sprinkled with toasted flaked almonds. But feel free to do what ever you like.

 

Two of these bad boys keeps me fuelled for most of the day. I used to have 3 until I linked my inability to move with excessive pancake consumption. That said I had a third today, purely for photographic reasons, of course.

No sugar, no grains, gluten free and immensely satisfying. Enjoy.

Lá na bPancóg shona duit / Happy Pancake day

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The dark days are over (well, in theory)

sunriseWhilst out walking at the weekend we spotted our first snowdrops (plúirín sneachta in Irish). This for me is the true indicator that Imbolc has arrived. This ancient festival signifying the start of Spring is the light at the end of the tunnel, leading us out of Winter and into the light half of the year. You can really see the stretch in the evenings now, the bird song is louder, and even the plants seem poised to make the most of the coming sun.

Why was this time so important for our ancestors? For one, it was simply the acknowledgement that they had made it through another winter. Sure, there may still be bad weather to come but they were surviving through it. Winter has always been seen as a time of death. The trees lie dormant, the animals are scarce, hunting is more difficult, we were reliant on what foods we had stored, and people were/are more prone to illness in the dark,colder months.

Living here, in Ireland, the coming of the sun feels as important now as ever. Some years it seems to forget that we exist at all and visits this island so infrequently that confusion and shock ensue…quickly followed by raging sunburn.

We all know that a drop of sunlight makes us feel uplifted and revitalised, but its benefits go far deeper. Whilst we don’t consume sunlight directly, our skin contains a substance, 7- dehydrocholesterol which manufactures Vitamin D when exposed to the UV-B rays of the sun.

Vitamin D is vital for sustaining a healthy human being. It is crucial for supporting the body’s immune system, where it activates the killer T-cells responsible for fighting off serious infection. It aids our bodies in maintaining the balance of phosphate and calcium in the blood, and promotes mineralisation and growth of bones, whilst working in conjunction with cofactor mineral and vitamins. It also helps to trigger the release of hormones such serotonin and beta-endorphins, which account for that feel good sensation.

Vitamin D is also known to activate the P53 or ‘spell-checker’ gene, so-called because it regulates healthy cell division and prevents cancer. In fact there is increasingly more research linking Vitamin D deficiency to many cancer forms.

The best source of Vitamin D? Sunlight. And were are perfectly evolved to obtain it, big hairless apes that we are. For our ancestors living around the equator, getting adequate sunlight (and therefore Vit D) was easy. But as our ancestors moved further north, away from the sun, they needed to become more adept at obtaining UV-B. The answer? Lighter skin.

And who, in general, has the fairest skin? Red-heads.

joe glor

This is Joe. My ginger brother from another mother.

So it should come as no surprise that Ireland, with all it’s glorious variety of rain, has the highest proportion of red-heads than anywhere else.

Whilst this is great for all those red-heads, what about the rest of us, especially those with darker skin? Vitamin D production from sunlight only really kicks off when the UV level gets to 3 or higher on the UV scale. For this kind of latitude, that means that we may only be getting enough sunlight for a quarter of the year if we are lucky, and for those with darker skin pigmentation, Vitamin D production may struggle.

For the darker months Vitamin D supplementation may be incredibly useful for maintaining a healthy level throughout the year. Over the counter  D3 supplements could go a long way to helping with this. The dosages vary from pot to pot, as does the recommended daily intake. The current UK recommendations are to take no more than 25 micrograms (1000I.U) per day, whilst other countries may have higher recommended doses. It is still much under debate, with some researchers suggesting massively higher doses needed to sustain optimal health. The Vitamin D we get from supplements sadly last for about half the time of sun-obtained Vit D.

Food is our other source of Vitamin D. Many cold water fish, cod liver oil, and eggs all contain Vit D, and are a good source of nutritional health. The amounts of Vitamin D vary from around 200-1000I.U. in a typical serving. Great to top up the levels but on their own is far from enough.

If you decide to go down the supplement route, then do your own background reading on dosages, and consult your own doctor as to their recommendations and opinions. As with everything, not everybody will react the same way, medication may have an effect on supplements and vice versa.

sheep

This is Dave. Don’t lick Dave!

Maybe the rural solution is to head up into the hills and find yourself a friendly sheep to lick. Much of the shop bought Vitamin D3 is actually derived from sheep’s wool.

Below is a great info-graphic from Information is Beautiful

vitamin_D_550DSCF2835

Personal Training

Wild-Fitness-logo-green

For anyone interested, I am now offering one-one, and small group personal training sessions to anyone wanting a tailor-made approach to fitness and healthy living. I can cover a wide variety of techniques and practices to get you to your individual fitness and health goals, including:

Functional strength and conditioning

Flexibility, Mobility and Movement

Primal Blueprint approach to health

Nutritional advice and guidance

Complete health and fitness tests

Guidance on personal goals

 

Sessions can take place at your own home, nearby location/gym, or alternatively with me at Drumnaph Community Nature Reserve.

Example costings:DSC02466

One off session (or pay as you go) £22/hour.

Bundle of 6 sessions £110

Bundle of 10 session £150

All personal training plans start with a detailed health and fitness assessment to allow us to work out the type of schedule best suited to your personal goals.

As individual needs all differ please feel free to contact me to discuss them and to work out an individual plan.

Discounts may be available to small group bookings, but please be aware that you will not be able to get the same individual attention or personalised plan as a one-one client.

Online Personal Training also available.  Please contact me to find out about this and the prices

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Exercise and Hurling…

…or why we sometimes vomit during or after exercise.

First off, apologies to those Hurlers and Camógs who clicked on this in the hope of some inspirational training tips to enhance your game, but keep reading because I guarantee that it applies to some of you guys too.

So here’s the thing. Sometimes when we workout  we can end up feeling a bit queasy, a little fuzzy around the edges, to the point where we have to have a sit down at best, or rush to find an appropriate receptacle (if time allows) at worst.

It can happen to best of us, from absolute beginners to hardcore elites. Some people are absolutely mortified by the whole experience, whilst others seem to wear this as a badge of honour. The CrossFit community have even invented a vomit related mascot in the guise of Pukie the Clown, with some gyms handing out Pukie T shirts to those attendees who have joined the Pukie club.

 

Some times we push the limits of our bodies to the point that we are sick.

But this should be the exception not the rule.

pukie-ripped-2c

 

Regular vomiting, in my opinion, should not be the goal for any exerciser/athlete. If this is the case it could be a sign of some other underlining gastro-intestinal problems that should be looked at by a medical professional.

But before all you vomiters out there start googling life threatening illness, lets look at some fairly common causes of post exercise nausea.

Full Stomach – In my experience the number 1 culprit for causing exercise induced nausea is exercising on a full stomach. If I have someone in a circuit class that ends up with that fuzzy grey sensation and a desperate need to be by themselves, you can almost always guarantee that when asked when they last ate, the answer will be ‘Just before class’.

When we exercise our body sends our blood to our muscles to supply energy and oxygen and to take away waste product. That sensation of feeling ‘pumped’ is the extra blood in the muscles that are doing the work. Our digestive tract is also made up muscle. It too needs blood to aid its work. Divert the blood away towards those big leg muscles to push out those last squats, and the digestive tract can’t do it’s job. The answer? Get rid of the issue, i.e. meeting Pukie the Clown.

Not enough Food – Before I changed my diet this was my biggest enemy. If I didn’t eat at just the right time my blood sugar level would drop making me feel god awful. Thankfully now that I eat a more primal aligned diet I can quite happily exercise in a fasted state.

Dehydration – Exercise causes you to loose water and salts through sweating, unbalancing the body’s electrolyte levels. This can lead to nausea and headaches.

Over-hydration – I know, you can’t win right. Taking on board too much water before, during or after activities can overload the stomach and cause nausea. Excessive over hydration can even lead Hyponatremia, where the excessive water quantities dilute electrolyte levels way out of the healthy ranges.

Heat Exhaustion – Shares many of the same issues as dehydration and can lead on to heat stroke, where the body can no longer cool itself. You don’t have to be in a hot environment to get these either. Over heating from exercise can also be a cause heat exhaustion.

Lactic Acid – A build up of lactic acid decreases the pH of the blood making it too acidic and creating a shock reaction to the body systems, often ending with you dinner on the gym floor. Often a result of going too hard.

Lack of cool down – As mention before, with the increase blood supply to our muscles (especially our legs) our blood vessels can dilate to accommodate the extra flow. The system then uses the muscle contraction to help pump the blood back to the heart, lungs and brain. If  you stop too suddenly the blood pools in these muscle and your brain can’t get enough oxygen and fuel. The result includes dizziness and nausea.

There are many other reasons why you might why you might feel sick after exercise, some still not really understood. Some people may be more genetically predisposed to exercise induced sickness. Some may just be lucky.

Vomit is not weakness leaving the body. It is simply dinner leaving the stomach.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Equally it’s nothing to continually aim for, especially as you’re working so hard to improve you fitness. This require good fuel and nutrients, both before and after working out. You could be throwing away your hard earned gains with the sick bucket.

g.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise and Health

As many of you will know, I’m keen on banging on about the importance of moving our bodies for a whole host of beneficial reasons, pure joy being one of my favourites. Fat loss is often one of the most lauded of these  benefits, and while exercise has its pace in fat loss/weight management, in my opinion it is far from the best method for loosing the love handles and is definitely no magic bullet for obtaining the optimal body composition (much more on this coming soon).

So what other benefits can there be from exercising? Well on my trip back home tonight from training Hurlers and Footballers there was a great episode of BBC Radio 4’s Inside Health that covers some interesting research on a variety of health benefits for a number of different medical issues including Arthritis and a number of types of Cancer.

Here’s the link to the show Health and exercise. It’s well worth a listen.

I will be posting some blogs shortly on other benefits of exercise and movement, as well as what is an appropriate approach to exercising for different goals. We’ll look at the roles of strength training, sprints, appropriate cardio, and the deadly art of Bimbling.

SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT! Beginners circuit training starts tomorrow at 7pm for those interested. I am also available to take on private clients for personal training at the moment.

 

Keep moving.L2D2