Sports Supplements for Athletes

The world of sports supplements continues to evolve as the market broadens with new products hitting the shelves every day. Supplement companies aggressively bid for a slice of market share boasting bold marketing statements directed at results and superior quality. So what is the truth behind sports supplements and do they work?

Sports supplements were originally designed by pharmaceutical companies in order to provide athletes training and competing at the top level with an ability to grow, perform and recover at an optimal level. And also to sustain the demands of the physical demands associated with competitive sport.

Sports supplements define a category of products that support the naturally occurring components within our body and assist in driving processes internally such as muscular growth. For example amino acids can be described as the building blocks of muscle and contribute greatly towards growth and recovery among many other things. Although many amino acids are found within the body, supplements can also be taken to bolster their quantity for better training and competition.

Athletes are described as having a daily activity level well above that of the average person, in turn, causing far greater stress on the body with a higher nutrient content required to sustain activity at the desired level.

It is due to the training and competition load that suggests sports supplementation provides advantageous benefits, contributing to performance and recovery as a result of replenished nutrients required by the body to function efficiently.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are entirely an opinion by The Body Factory or representative thereof and do not take into account your individual health, circumstances or needs. For personal guidance, you should contact us or other qualified fitness or health professional.

Are cheat meals ever ok?

Well, here’s a topic that creates loads of confusion, plenty of debate and makes for a guilty conscience as though food murder has been committed.

So let’s tidy this one up and create some clarity around the cheat meal. As many of you can appreciate Monday to Friday can seem like an eternity when you’re limiting your calories, sticking to a plan and chasing a goal. You may be cutting carbohydrates, cycling macronutrients or perhaps a combination of a variety of dieting techniques that place pressure on the body both physically and mentally.

Regardless of your journey, that beloved craving at the end of the week draws closer as we approach the weekend. That ‘cheat meal’ becomes a reality through a response to temptation, perhaps a reward, or because you feel like you deserve it, and good on you!

So how bad is that meal for you? Given it’s a meal and not the start of a roller coasting day that finishes 48 hours later, it can only be positive. You’ve worked hard all week, you’ve seen progression and you have rewarded yourself as you said you would. Well done.

The reward aside, sanity through balance is everything. Your cheat meal serves as a great opportunity to find that balance, reset the system and draw a line in the sand prior to the start of another strong, successful block of consistent training and clean eating. There must be milestones and this is one of them.

Although they are cheat meals to some, to others, they are known as a ‘re-feed’. Equally as important the re-feed provides opportunity to activate and exercise important hormones internally like insulin (among many others). Insulin sensitivity is at all-time high, insulin responds rapidly and transports much needed nutrients to the muscle and other areas of the body, another win.

So – let us ask you, is the cheat meal negatively effecting you physically? Or mentally? If not then its is ok in our book.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are entirely an opinion by The Body Factory or representative thereof and do not take into account your individual health, circumstances or needs. For personal guidance, you should contact us or other qualified fitness or health professional.

Eating vs Dieting

It’s a Topic Worth the Debate

A controversial topic that’s well worth the debate as we love to eat but feel the pressures to diet. The health and fitness industry is constantly influencing and shifting our culture, mindset and perceptions on what is and isn’t “healthy”.  Without us even realising we are always being influenced, particularly via social media, on what being healthy is supposed to look like, supposed to behave like and supposed to eat like. This ideal way of eating to achieve a healthy body can be more appropriately described as dieting.

The health and fitness industry has quickly become one of Australia’s fastest growing industries, with many personalities who claim to have a wealth of knowledge on exactly what you need to eat to look a certain way, usually in the form of a protein powder supplement. It has become increasingly hard to distinguish between the next food trend and actual evidence-based recommendations.

So Do You Eat or Diet?

A diet used to be a plan specifically constructed by a qualified nutritionist or dietitian, that was prescribed to a patient to assist with supporting a poor health condition. Around this time, being normal meant eating normally. If you were hungry, you ate. No diet, meal plan or supplements, just real food. Eating was healthy, it was un-measured, and it probably wasn’t analysed or logged.

Today there are many who claim to be experts and apps like My Fitness Pal are very popular for tracking our food and calorie intake. We spend more money on supplementary foods than on foods themselves. We count calories and macros and determine what we believe our body’s need, and follow diets published by an un-qualified professional who provides a “one size fits all” dietary approach. This approach at the end of the day dictates one of two outcomes – pass or fail.

So do you eat or do you diet? Answer the following questions to get your answer:

  • Do you fight a mental battle when it comes to meal time over what you should and shouldn’t be eating?
  • Do you watch the clock tick over, waiting for your scheduled meal time with the fear that any minute later will affect your metabolic rate?
  • Do you say no to dinners with friends or social outings because you believe it will affect your goals?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you are in a dieting mentality. If you didn’t answer yes, you are eating.

But Why?

Social media is a strong contributing factory as to why we place these unrealistic dieting and body image expectations we place on ourselves.

We can identify this with experiences of ourselves or our friends who avoid social situations like eating out due to the lack of control they may feel over their food and the impact that it may have over their body. This can result in having unhealthy habits such as obsessing over the scales, our body fat percentage and the fat burner supplements that we feel we should consume to improve our body image.

This obsession with ourselves is unhealthy and the hurdles that we set ourselves to achieve the “perfect” body is unrealistic. This obsession creates frustration, isolates us from our friends and family and creates a journey with no end. A journey of dissatisfaction and self-criticism based upon a shadowed opinion, uninformed by reality.

Get Back to Eating

However, there is a solution. An answer for all of those dieters to break free from this mentality, build confidence and achieve your goals sustainably. This starts with throwing out the scales, stop obsessing over calories and focusing on eating healthy, nutritious whole foods such as lean proteins, fruits and vegetables to fuel your body to your best.

The Body Factory’s holistic team that includes Nutritionists and Personal Trainers are here for your step away from dieting and into eating. Contact us below for more information.

Written by Madeline Parsons, BNSc & Luke Edmonds

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are entirely an opinion by The Body Factory or representative thereof and do not take into account your individual health, circumstances or needs. For personal guidance, you should contact us or other qualified fitness or health professional.

The Effects of Sleep on Weight Loss

When we eat well and train hard we expect to lose weight. For some, weight loss can occur rapidly without almost any struggle. In others, it can be a long-fought battle often leaving us confused, frustrated and disheartened. But is there more to the story than just eating well and exercising that we aren’t putting into consideration?

It’s common knowledge that a good night’s sleep restores our energy levels to help us power through those busy days, but did you know that sleep also plays a crucial role in our body composition? This is less well known.

The Link Between Sleep and Weight Loss

There’s a strong link between sleep and regulation of ghrelin and leptin, key hormones in your body for appetite control. Ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone” is released by the body to increase appetite. Many studies have shown that those who have inadequate sleep have higher levels of this hormone circulating in their bodies. Leptin, the “satiety” hormone, usually suppresses those feelings of hunger.

When we are sleep deprived, not only is more ghrelin made, but less leptin is also produced, amplifying those effects of hunger even if we aren’t truly hungry. A few days of overeating won’t have a huge impact on your body composition goals, but over a long period of time this can accumulate and contribute towards weight gain.

But it doesn’t stop there. Poor sleep severely affects your decision making abilities and self-control. This can lead to making food choices that don’t align with our goals. Think high fat, high sugar foods that can easily ramp up your daily calorie intake that you are more prone to eat when you are tired.

When was the last time you were exhausted and felt like going to the gym? The last thing our tired selves want is to workout. This means when we are tired, not only are we likely to be consuming more energy (calories) but also expend less, further inhibiting our weight loss goals.

Clock in Those Z’s

A good nights sleep does more than keep those bags under our eyes at bay. It regulates our hunger hormones, improves our decision-making abilities and increases the likelihood of regular exercise.

To help you achieve your health and fitness goals, get comfy, get cosy and get some sleep.

 

Written by Madeline Parsons, BNSc & Luke Edmonds

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are entirely an opinion by The Body Factory or representative thereof and do not take into account your individual health, circumstances or needs. For personal guidance, you should contact us or other qualified fitness or health professional.

Your Guide to Eating Over the Holidays

The holiday’s are a time to get together with friends and family to celebrate the year that was. More often than not these celebrations involve tasty food, alcoholic beverages and from time to time can be followed by a hangover. The catch with tasty food and alcoholic beverages is the sugar spike that it gives you, leaving you more tired than to begin with.

So, should you feel guilty about diverging from your usual eating and exercise regime over the silly season? Absolutely not. These holidays use my guide to eat smart, ditch the guilt, and enjoy some good festive food.

Eat Smart

Social gatherings often involve grazing platters full of cheeses, dips, crackers and processed meats. These platters can also be very high in calories and make it easy for you to eat over your daily energy requirements unknowingly. If you know that you have a tendency to set up permanent residence near the grazing platter, position yourself away from the food table to avoid continually snacking. Instead, grab a few of your favourites on a plate and walk away.

To help avoid overeating at parties have a meal rich in protein and/or complex carbohydrates before leaving home. This will have you feeling satisfied and less-likely to over eat when out. This is also useful when alcohol is involved. After a few drinks our best efforts to avoid high calorie foods (midnight kebabs I’m looking at you) can be diminished. Ensuring  you’ve had something substantial before going out will help reduce those cravings.

And finally, when trying to eat mindfully over the holidays and confronted by many different food options, my golden rule of thumb is veggies first. Loading up your plate with vegetables or salad at social events is an effective way to ensure the meal stays relatively healthy and keep you fuller for longer.

Ditch the Guilt (and Goals)

The more we restrict ourselves from something, the more we will want it. Ditch the guilt and indulge these holidays with a mindful approach. That is, eating well majority of the time and enjoying those food or drinks that you normally wouldn’t eat. By allowing yourself these foods and not telling yourself no, you open up the doors to a healthy relationship with food that allows yourself to enjoy these treats a whole lot more.

While you’re at it, ditch any weight loss goal you may have over this period. The average individual gains 0.8 – 1.5 kg over the festive season according to Nutrition Australia, so chances are any weight loss goals you have in place during this time will be unsuccessful. The good news is, you can solve about any weight gain after the holidays.

My Go-To Festive Foods

What if I told you that two shortbread biscuits has the same amount of calories as twenty prawns? Will the biscuits fill you up? Probably not. However, twenty prawns is a high protein option that will leave you feeling satisfied until your next main meal.

When making food decisions this festive season, take a “more bang for your buck” approach. Choose foods that will keep you fuller for longer than their low volume counterpart. A plate full of salad with a few slices of ham and a piece of bread is a far more substantial option than a slice of grandma’s Christmas cake or snacking all day on nuts and chocolate.

Summer salads are always a crowd pleaser and a simple, easy to prepare way to make sure there’s always a healthy option on the food table. Pair your salad with some lean meats or seafood such as barbecue chicken or roast turkey and you have a well-balanced healthy meal. Processed meats such as salami, prosciutto and chorizo have been shown to be carcinogenic and should be eaten sparingly.

For dessert, instead of reaching for high calorie treats that only provide short term satisfaction, fill up on seasonal fresh fruit such as watermelon and cherries.

Happy Holidays

The festive season only comes around once a year. Follow these tips to keep your health in check whilst still indulging guilt-free so you can come back from holidays refreshed and re-energised. If you want to get a better hold on your nutrition and achieve your goals in the New Year contact me.

Written by Madeline Parsons, BNSc

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are entirely an opinion by The Body Factory or representative thereof and do not take into account your individual health, circumstances or needs. For personal guidance, you should contact us or other qualified fitness or health professional.