Personal Training Kelowna

Food for Mood

Food For Mood

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Trainer

 

This time of year you may well feel in a low mood. It’s easy to feel energetic and cheerful when the sun is shining but when the days are short and the weather cold it can be hard to get up any enthusiasm at the start of each day.

Getting out into the daylight, especially in the morning and ideally combined with some exercise can reset your melatonin levels and improve your sleep. Exercise leads the way to the release of endorphins in the brain, improving your mood and self-esteem whilst reducing symptoms of depression. Speak to your personal trainer who will tailor a program of exercise to suit your needs and lift your mood.

But this is not all that helps, your diet plays an important part to combating low mood. You need to eat regularly to keep your sugar level steady, and choose foods that release energy slowly, if your blood sugar drops you might feel tired, irritable and depressed. Slow-release energy foods such as oats and brown rice release their energy slowly helping to stabilise blood sugar levels and possibly mood. By eating breakfast you get the day off to a good start, and try eating a smaller lunch and dinner and eating smaller portions spaced out more regularly during the day.

Nuts and seeds contain amino acids which are thought to play a part in mood regulation. Often a handful can satisfy a hunger without interfering with your appetite for your meal. But try to avoid foods which make your blood sugar rise and fall rapidly, such as sugary snacks, sugary drinks, and alcohol.

Pulses such as lentils kidney beans, edamame beans, chickpeas and other peas and beans contain plant chemicals known as phytoestrogens that may help to balance out certain hormones associated with anger and aggression. Also being a good source of fibre they keep blood levels in check.

Vegetables and fruit contain a lot of the minerals, vitamins and fibre we need to keep us physically and mentally healthy. By eating a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables every day means you’ll get a good range of nutrients. A diet rich in plant based foods may be linked to lower risk of depression. Tomatoes, mushrooms and bananas all contain high levels of potassium which is essential for your whole nervous system, including your brain.

Certain deficiencies in B vitamins have been linked to depression, as serotonin production can actually be hindered by low B vitamin levels. Important B vitamins are B3, B6 and B12, and eating leafy green vegetables, such as spinach or broccoli will help keep your levels up.

If you don’t drink enough water, you may find it difficult to concentrate or think clearly. Water is extremely important for our bodies to function properly. Some water is in the food you eat but you should be trying to drink at least two pints of water daily to stay hydrated.

Your brain needs fatty oils (such as omega-3 and -6) to keep it functioning healthily. So rather than avoiding all fats, it’s important to eat the right ones. Oily fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines, salmon and fresh tuna, poultry, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), olive and sunflower oils, seeds (such as sunflower and pumpkin), avocados, milk, yoghurt, cheese and eggs.

Try to avoid anything which lists ‘trans fats’ or ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ in the list of ingredients (such as some shop-bought cakes and biscuits). They can be tempting when you’re feeling low, but this kind of fat is bad for your mood and your physical health in the long run.

Are you having enough protein? Chicken and turkey, a good source of protein, provide a range of nutrients including vitamin B6 needed for a healthy nervous system, poultry also contains tyrosine, the amino acid which studies have suggested may help prevent and reduce low mood. Also fish, eggs, cheese, legumes (peas, beans and lentils), soya products, nuts and seeds are sources of protein.

Your state of mind is closely connected to your gut, not just because of your physical comfort, but also because your gut uses many of the same chemicals as your brain, and communicates with it. Healthy gut foods include fibre (in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains), and live yoghurt which contains probiotics.

Caffeine is a stimulant and too much caffeine can make you feel anxious and depressed, disturb your sleep (especially if you have it last thing at night), or give you withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly. Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, chocolate, cola and other manufactured energy drinks. You might feel noticeably better quite quickly if you drink less caffeine or avoid it altogether.

And finally a small square of dark chocolate causes the brain to release endorphins and boost serotonin levels. In a recent study, 30 people were given 40g of dark chocolate, over 14 days. The results showed that chocolate eaters produced less stress hormones and their anxiety levels decreased. So what better reason to have some chocolate! But make sure it’s only a couple of small squares of high cocoa content chocolate and not the whole bar.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Training Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Personal Training Kelowna

Office Workouts Kelowna

Office Workouts Kelowna

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

Even though you’ve started your day with some form of exercise, don’t let it stop there. We are told that we spend too much time sitting, apparently people who spend more than 8 hours a day sitting double their risk of heart disease compared to those sitting for 4 hours or less. It is also a key contributor to weight gain, which is itself linked to heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. If you add up the hours you sit at work plus sitting in your car or on the bus to get to work, then the time you sit relaxing in the evening it can add up to an excess of 10 hours! It is thought excessive sitting slows the metabolism – which affects our ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and metabolise fat – and may cause weaker muscles and bones.

There are a few things to do to reduce your sitting times

  • stand on the train or bus
  • take the stairs and walk up escalators
  • place a laptop on a box or similar to work standing
  • stand or walk around while on the phone
  • take a walk break every time you take a coffee or tea break
  • walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing or calling
  • swap some TV time for more active tasks or hobbies

When at work set yourself a reminder to stand up every half hour to walk around a bit. This will ensure continuous blood circulation in your arms and legs, and will keep them from getting too strained. Take walks to the water station to refill your glass. If you can afford to take longer breaks, take a short walk outside your building, and use the stairs instead of the elevator to go down. Aside from giving your legs and heart a good workout, you can take in some fresh air as well.

The impact of movement, even leisurely movement, can have a knock on effect, you’ll burn more calories, which may lead to weight loss and increased energy. Even better, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these processes stall and your health risks increase. When you’re standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.

To combat the adverse effects of the 9-to-5 routine, speak to your personal trainer who will be able to give you some simple workplace workouts exercises that can help you make the most of your limited hours. With a little creativity, you can take advantage of the few minutes you have between pending deadlines and learn to exercise while you work. It can also benefit your company as a little exercise improves concentration and actually makes you more productive.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Functional Strength Training Kelowna

Early Morning Exercise

Early Morning Exercise

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

Studies have shown that early morning exercise can give you a 50% boost your feelings of wellbeing, compared to a 20% boost for those who exercise in the evenings, exercise can boost your mood for hours afterwards, meaning that activity first thing in the morning will release good hormones for the day ahead, boosting your mood, metabolism and energy levels. The same study also revealed that these early workouts led to a bigger reduction in artery clogging blood fats. More research has shown that by not eating carbs until after they had exercised rather than before a meal, men burned 8% more fat and women 22% more.

It also seems like the morning is the optimal exercise time if you’re looking to lose a few pounds as an early trip to the gym has been shown to result in fewer food cravings throughout the day, and working out in the morning means that your body will burn calories faster and more efficiently throughout the day. Combine that with nutritional foods and you have the perfect workout, speak to your personal trainer who can tailor a program of exercise and diet just for you.

Exercise has been proven to increase mental focus and acuity for up to ten whole hours post-workout. So if you do your exercise after work, you’re not taking full advantage of those ten hours, since you’re likely sleeping for most of them. An early bird workout means that both your brain and your body are in good shape all day.

Exercising in the morning can help you sleep better than if you work out later in the evening, since you’re not getting that extra energy boost as you’re trying to settle in for the night. When you exercise at about the same time every morning, especially if you wake up regularly at about the same time, you are regulating your body’s endocrine system and circadian rhythms. Your body learns that you do the same thing just about every day, and it begins to prepare for waking and exercise several hours before you actually open your eyes. Scientifically it makes sense that our body is more efficient after a good rest, and as most people get their largest dose of rest and recovery at night, the morning is a time when your body is firing on all cylinders.

So are you a morning lark or a night owl? Scientists do believe that we can override our inner body clock and shift our daily routines to include some early morning exercise and set ourselves up for the day ahead. But it is also said you need to allow time to adapt to a new regime much in the same way that our bodies cope with jet lag, training our bodies to shift to a new pattern.

It is wise to choose the kind of exercise that works in tandem with your body clock, in that way it will be a more enjoyable experience. Perhaps exercise that requires accuracy such as swimming, walking, jogging, yoga may be best done very early and workouts that require strength and speed, hard running, weight training, cycling may be best done later in the day.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Training Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Personal Trainer Kelowna

Thai Green Curry Kelowna

Thai Green Curry Kelowna

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

As a personal trainer it is up to me sometimes to source healthy recipe ideas for my clients, this one is a favourite in my house.

 

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 1 lemon grass stalk finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp green Thai paste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 4 dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • Small bunch Thai basil

Fry shallots and lemon grass
Add paste and cook for 1 minute
Add vegetables of your choice (broccoli, mange tout, baby sweet corn, courgette, maybe a few cashew nuts) along with the fish sauce, sugar, lime leaves and coconut milk
Bring to boil, simmer for 10 mins, do not overlook green curry it will change the colour and spoil the taste
Add Thai basil

Serve with jasmine rice

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Training Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Personal Training Kelowna

Breakfast Kelowna

Breakfast Kelowna

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

With your healthy start to the New Year, how about starting the day with a good breakfast. Have a good breakfast and you’ll set yourself up for the whole day. You have to start somewhere, it’s far more productive to focus on the small changes you can make, and what better start than a decent breakfast. Many of us are apt to skip this first meal of the day, whether out of habit or because we’re too busy, but as many studies have shown people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight, and has also been linked to good health, including better memory and concentration, lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and lower chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, so it makes sense to include this important meal in your new healthy start to the year. Your personal trainer can offer nutritional advice on the advantages of a healthy diet.

When you get up in the morning your body has been fasting probably in excess of about 10 hours, the blood sugar your body needs to make your muscles and brain work their best is usually low, breakfast helps replenish it, so now is the time to go for the slow burn fuel rather than the sugary cereals or skipping breakfast altogether as this can throw off your body’s rhythm of fasting and eating. You need food in your system long before lunchtime and if you don’t eat first thing, you may get so hungry later on that you snack on high-fat, high sugar foods.

Porridge provides that slow burn, gut friendly fibre fix and to bump up the nutritional value add a few chopped nuts and fruit. To provide you with the protein your body needs add a couple of eggs, scrambled or an omelette with some chopped tomato and a handful of spinach. You can add a fruit or veg smoothie to this and you will be adding to your veg/fruit requirements for the day. You’ll definitely feel full until lunchtime and won’t be reaching for that mid morning snack. So resist that pastry or doughnut, your best bet is a mix of foods that have carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fibre. Carbs will give you energy right away, and the protein will give you it later on, while the fibre keeps you feeling full. If your body doesn’t get that fuel from food, you may feel you have no energy and you’ll be more likely to overeat later in the day.

Breakfast also gives you a chance to get in some vitamins and nutrients from healthy foods like dairy, grains, and fruits. If you don’t eat it, you aren’t likely to get all of the nutrients your body needs. So start your healthy year with a healthy breakfast.

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

Start building a better body for your future

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