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Summer body goals

With summer on it’s way, some of us are wondering if we are summer ready?
To some it’s not a big deal, but for others the thought of walking round in a bikini is a little daunting.

How to Lose Weight

Have a Healthy Breakfast

A healthy breakfast is key to losing weight. You want to keep your metabolism up, and it is kick-started for the day when you eat breakfast. Avoid sugary cereals and go for whole grains instead. Protein is a must to give yourself a lasting energy hit that will see you through until lunch. Try some eggs or plain yoghurt (which you can spice up with some fruit). Don’t fall into the trap of sleeping for an extra ten minutes and skipping breakfast – we know it’s hard but if you want to lose weight, breakfast is essential.

Avoid Processed Foods

Go for fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains, along with lean protein and healthy fats like macadamia nuts, coconut products, and avocados. Processed foods are high in salt (salt is a preservative).

Caffeine in Moderation

Some people say that coffee is bad for you, but it’s all about the amount you drink. One cup of coffee a day is a good thing – coffee and tea are natural diuretics and studies have shown that drinkers of coffee and tea burn more calories. Just don’t go overboard on them – try not to have more than 2 -3 cups of coffee a day, and don’t exceed 5 cups of tea per day. Coffee is also a good source of antioxidants and contains a range of healthy nutrients like vitamin B. Tea also contains antioxidants.

Avoid Sugar-laden Drinks

One of the biggest no-nos when it comes to weight loss is sugar-filled drinks. Soft drinks, sweetened coffee or tea, alcohol, and even juice contain a lot of sugar. They will make your metabolism sky-rocket and you will need to eat more to feel full. Also, alcohol makes it harder for your body to burn fat.

These steps combined with regular cardio exercise (sessions beyond the 45 minute mark will burn the most fat) will help you lose weight. Beyond that, healthy diet and exercise will make your body healthier and improve your quality of life.

If you want to support your body during high-impact training, we recommend taking Squalene. Here at Natures Naturals, we hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog and found it informative. Thanks for reading!

Should I Join the Gym?

Some people swear by it, others say you don’t need it. In today’s blog post we’ll be discussing the pros and cons of joining your local gym.

Pros

If you join a reputable gym of a decent size, chances are it will have every kind of equipment for all the different parts of your body – more than you can poke a stick at. So whatever you want to do, whether it’s cardio, toning, or muscle gain, the equipment you need will be there all in one place.

When doing cardio at the gym, for example on the treadmill, one advantage is that there is a timer and difficulty settings. So you might have a certain energy burning goal in mind or a set timespan, in which case you can set it on the machine and go for it. You can jog for as long as you like and then just step off and you’re done, as opposed to when you go for a jog around your neighbourhood and get tired – then you have to walk home.

Also, because you’re paying for gym membership, you won’t want to miss sessions so you get your money’s worth. This can be a good motivator. Another plus is they have classes you can attend in everything from yoga to zumba. This can help you push yourself and learn new skills.

Cons

An obvious disadvantage to joining the gym is that it costs money – not a lot, but there is usually a weekly fee, and generally there is a sizeable cancellation fee. The cancellation fee isn’t too bad though, because it may motivate you to keep going on your fitness journey.

Some people don’t like working out in front of others, and if this is you the gym may not work for you. Some also may prefer jogging around their neighbourhood or along a bush trail rather than jogging on a treadmill. There is plenty you can do without gym equipment to work out, like pushups etc.

So there are some good and bad points about joining the gym, but if you want to stay fit and healthy it’s certainly not a bad option. Here at Natures Naturals, we stock plenty of supplements that will help your body recover and grow, like squalene.

Staying Healthy During Winter

Sometimes in winter we can let go of our health regime and be a little slack. You might use the excuse “it’s raining, I can’t go jogging”, or “I can’t eat a salad, I need some hot food”. We know what it’s like to lose motivation during winter, but rest assured – there’s ways to stay fit and healthy.

Indoor Exercises

Even though it may be too wet outside to go jogging, there are still plenty of exercises you can do at home that will keep you fit and healthy. Try doing some stretching, followed by push-ups, crunches, and you can even get a skipping rope and try skipping (provided you have a suitable floor). These exercises done properly will provide plenty of cardio, and keep you looking toned. There’s plenty more you can do – use your imagination and use muscles you don’t normally use – and do your exercises with vigour to keep the heart rate up.

Winter Meals

While you may want something to warm you up, you don’t need to eat junk food. There are plenty of winter meals that are very healthy for you. You could try grabbing some of your favourite vegetables and some simple stock powder, and make a soup. You’d be surprised at how full you can feel just from a vegetable soup, especially if there are potatoes in it.

Roast vegetables is also a great one for winter – with or without meat. If you’re trying to lose weight, the plain vegetables can be enough. Have it with your favourite sauce or gravy. Enjoy the warming feeling of these great winter foods! And remember, you can take things like squalene to give your health kick a real edge.

Even though it’s tempting to just stay in bed and binge-watch shows all day, there is plenty you can do in winter to stay fit and healthy (and you can treat yourself to the occasional movie day too!).

Light Exercises

In the previous blog posts, we’ve covered bodybuilding and cardiovascular exercises, but in today’s post we’re going to discuss light exercises you can do and their benefits.

Walking

Not many people realise just how beneficial simple walking can be – providing it is a long walk. If you walk for around an hour per day, you will get a gentle raise of the heart rate and tone the muscles all over your body.

If you don’t like jogging, rejoice, because walking can help you reach your weight loss goals.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a tremendously beneficial gentle exercise you can do. Of course, you’ll have to find a class or an instructor, but you will find that it will not only tone your body, but help you manage your mood and lower stress.

Pilates

Pilates is actually harder than what many people think, so I’m hesitant to even call this gentle exercise – but it does fit in on the more intense end of that spectrum, so I’m going to include it.

Pilates is almost like a mixture of yoga and resistance training. It involves maintaining physical positions that utilise muscles you don’t normally use. It might look easy, but if you try it, you’ll find that it can be quite gruelling.

The benefits are gentle cardio and great toning and muscle definition, not to mention building core strength.

Housework

Another great one is regular housework. You can achieve your daily quota of exercise by simply mowing the lawn, mopping the floor, scrubbing the cupboards, or cleaning the bathroom.

You’ll find regular activities like this use all the muscle groups in your body, and will raise the heart rate. Things like scrubbing mouldy tiles can really be considered beyond light exercise. We all remember the scene in Karate Kid, “wax on, wax off”.

Here at Natures Naturals, we wish you the best of health, and hope that you enjoyed this blog.

Exercise for Cardiovascular Health

In our last blog post we explored some exercises you can do to strengthen your body without gym equipment. In today’s post we are going to look at some exercises you can do to maintain good cardiovascular heath.

Jogging

Jogging is a tried and true cardio workout that activates all the muscles in your body and maintains a high heart rate throughout. If you’re looking to lose weight, this is a great method, especially if you make your session longer than 45 minutes. Any cardio workout that exceeds 45 minutes puts your body into ketosis, which is where you start burning fat.

Some may suffer from joint pain, and if this is you, apart from taking omega 3s, you may choose to do a form of exercise that is easier on the knees.

Cardio in the Home

If you want to stay at home and still get a good cardio workout, we recommend the following exercises. You should start with a gentle warm up, which should include stretching your entire body.

Place your feet flat on the ground with one in front of the other and gently lean forward to stretch your hamstrings and calf muscles. Extend your arms out to your sides, horizontally, with your hands facing forward, and pull them back slowly. This will stretch your arms and chest.

Then extend your arms vertically, again with your hands facing forwards, and pull them back. Another thing you can do to warm up your upper body is chopping the air in front of you with your hands – swing your hand with your fingers outstretched from the inside to the outside, level with your upper chest, then change sides, then repeat the motion except this time level with your middle to lower chest. This can be done swiftly, and will raise your heart rate.

To achieve a cardio workout of above 45 minutes in the home, you will need to do several different exercises – try crunches, push-ups, squats, leg lifts, back lifts, and be creative and come up with exercises to work areas of your body that don’t normally get attended to.

As with any exercise regime, start slowly and gently, and over time, build up the intensity and repetitions. In a short time, you will have a healthier heart and a toned body. Enjoy!

And don’t forget, propolis can also help keep your heart and circulatory system healthy.

Full Body Workout Without Equipment

You might be thinking you need to join the gym if you want to train your whole body and tone up, or even build muscle, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Balanced Workout

If you’re after a balanced workout, you don’t need weights or gym equipment at all. Isolating certain muscle groups and using weights may work for sculpting your body to a desired shape, but it can lead to unbalanced body development such as big arms and chest with a small back and legs.

You can use weights and gym equipment and still develop your body in a balanced way, but it isn’t necessary unless you want to get really huge. Your body is heavy enough to act as a weight on its own, and this guide will show you how to use this method.

Push-ups

Push-ups are one of the basic gym-free exercises you can do. They will strengthen your arms, chest, back, abdomen, and even legs, if done correctly. The advantage to doing push-ups as opposed to bench pressing is that you need to hold your body rigid, so it works out your whole body.

You can even up the ante and do them on your fingers, once you gain the strength, and make it into a more cardio intensive workout by pushing yourself off the ground, and once you’re fairly advanced with it, you can clap your hands together while in the air for an extra challenge.

Once you’ve reached this stage, you will have true full-body strength that not many weight lifters achieve.

Backwards Push-ups

Push-ups will strengthen the front of your body, so to balance it out, you can try the following exercise: lie on your belly (using a foam mat will make it more comfortable) and stretch your arms above your head.

Raise your arms and legs off the ground as high as you can, and repeat. This will strengthen your back, buttocks, shoulders, and legs. Keep your legs apart so they work harder.

Aim to be able to do as many of these as you can push-ups, and your back should become strong at the same pace as your front.

Squat-Walk

Everyone knows about squats, but if you want to give your lower body the ultimate workout, try this: from a squatting position, staying as low as you can, walk (it’s actually more of a waddle) circuits around your house.

You’ll find this is hard to do at all, at first, because it’s using muscle groups you don’t normally use. You’ll find you have to sway to be able to place one foot in front of the other, as you’re so low to the ground.

This exercise is one of the hardest I know of, but if you do it regularly, you’ll have a lower body of steel (not to mention a hard core – no pun intended).

Handstand Push-ups

Speaking of hard-core, here’s one more challenge to top off your full body workout. Using a wall to stabilise yourself, do a handstand (leaning your back against the wall).

Once you’re up, keeping your back and legs vertically against the wall, bend your arms slightly and lower yourself down as far as your strength will allow (you have to be careful with this one as to avoid injury) and push yourself back up.

Go gently at first, and slowly build up the reps over time.

Easy Does It

With all these exercises, the key is gently at first. It’s very easy to pull a muscle or tendon, and these kinds of injuries can take a long time to heal. Err on the side of caution.

Even with the push-ups you might want to start with resting your knees on the ground so there’s less weight on your arms.

As you can see, there’s a lot you can do without weights, and it can actually be more challenging. If you persevere, you will gain extreme full-body strength and tone – and if you’re looking to gain muscle mass, check out our protein powder. Having the right amount of protein in your diet will help your body recover and build muscle faster.

Here at Natures Naturals, we wish you the best on your fitness journey!

What Kind of Exercise is Right for Me?

Apart from having a healthy diet, you might be wondering what kind of fitness routine is the best for you. This depends on what your aim is – weight loss, muscle gain, or general fitness.

Weight Loss

If you’re intending on losing weight, you must start with eating the right amount of healthy foods. A diet of fruit and vegetables with some protein is recommended.

Three meals a day is ideal, but if you have smaller portions, you can eat the same amount of food in more frequent intervals. Studies have shown that it doesn’t matter which way you go, but the key factor is energy release – some may prefer smaller meals more frequently as this will ensure a more consistent energy release, but if you don’t have time to do this, then three medium sized meals per day is fine.

Whichever way you go, having a piece of fruit between these meals is recommended, and it will give you a boost of vitamins, antioxidants and fibre.

For weight loss, cardio exercise like jogging is recommended.

Losing weight is hard, though, because for your body to go into ketosis (a state where you start burning fat), you must do an exercise that raises your heart rate for more than 45 minutes.

After the 45 minute point, you will be burning fat, so if you can put aside an hour to an hour and a half for your exercise, this is ideal.

We know that this is a lot of time to put in, but you don’t have to do it every day. Three sessions a week is optimum, but you will of course lose more weight if you exercise more often.

The key is not to over eat. You will feel hungrier than usual, but resist the temptation to eat more. This can nullify the effects of the exercise you work so hard at.

Weight Gain

If you’re looking to put on muscle mass, you could consider weight lifting. This is not essential, though, as there are a number of exercises you can do without any weights at all (and these will build your muscles in a more holistic way – rather than just getting bigger biceps or pectoral muscles).

Push-ups are a good start. This exercise will build your arms, chest and back. Make sure you are warmed up by doing some stretches and light cardio first. You can try doing push ups from a raised surface like the couch to warm up, as this will put less weight on your arms. Once warmed up, proceed to push-ups on the floor.

If you haven’t done this kind of workout recently, or at all, don’t push yourself too hard, as you can injure yourself. Start out with 5 to 10 reps, and then gradually increase over time.

There is a range of other non weight oriented exercises you can do that we will cover in the future.

General Fitness

Walking is a great way to maintain your general fitness, and the same rule for ketosis applies. If your walk exceeds 45 minutes, you will start burning fat. This is great for your heart and your circulation. Olive products are also a great way to maintain your overall health.

A short walk every day is a great way to maintain your general physical health, and you’ll be surprised at the way your body (especially your mid section) starts to tone over time.

So choose whichever exercise regime suits your needs, or mix and match – and enjoy the reward of good health.

Here at Natures Naturals, we hope you’ve enjoyed this blog. Stay tuned for more fitness tips.