Wednesday 7 December 2016

Siobhan Byrne: Choose the right fuel for your body

Healthymeals that include protein, carbs and fats are essential when training

Siobhan Byrne

Published 04/10/2016 | 02:30

Siobhan Byrne: training hard requires good nutrition. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
Siobhan Byrne: training hard requires good nutrition. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
Uni box push-up 1
Uni box push-up 2
Diamond crunch 1
Diamond crunch 2
Scissor kicks 1
Scissor kicks 2
Kettlebell swing 1
Kettlebell swing 2

No matter what age you are, training hard requires good nutrition and rest to allow the body to repair and recover. With so much information around about food and supplements promising the sun, moon and stars how can you make sure that what you are doing is right for you and your family?

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The first thing to note, is that where possible good nutrition should come from foods and there is no substitute for a healthy, balanced meal with the right amount of carbs, fats and protein, cooked from scratch at home where you know exactly what has gone into your food.

However, our busy lives have led us to opt for quick, on-the-go snacks that claim they will deliver what you need and it can be very difficult to make good decisions based on advertising alone.

Protein: The general rule for consumption of protein when you are training is a gram for every pound of bodyweight, this is a lot more than the RDA recommendation. Recent studies on women who strength train suggest that those on diets high in protein gained significantly more lean mass than women who ate almost half the quantity of protein. So if you looking to increase muscle (i.e. tone up) and lose body fat, make sure you are getting your protein requirements in for your type of training.

Carbohydrates: When I speak to female clients one of the first things they want to do is cut carbs and this can really backfire. Carbs are important for fuelling the body to help supply energy to the body. However, we need to look at the source of carbohydrates. My golden rule is to stick to unrefined and natural, healthy carbohydrates that release energy slowly to help avoid energy slumps. Think sweet potato, brown rice and oats.

Fats: Fat is an essential macronutrient that you cannot live without. For years people have been ditching fats in an attempt to shed the pounds which never works effectively, as most products with low fat have added sugar. But we must understand how much fat we require, as it is easy to overindulge on fats in foods such as nuts, avocados and seeds, before we have even added in our consumption of fats in proteins or other sources like fish, meat and eggs.

Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week

Focus on nutrition

Uni Box Push-Up

1/ Start by supporting your body on your toes, with one hand on a low step box (a step is ideal if you are at home) and the other on the floor, with elbows bent and your chest nearly touching the floor.

2/ Then simply push up to straight-arm position and lower back down to the ground while keeping your back flat throughout the exercise. Repeat all reps on one side before alternating to the other side.

Diamond crunch

1/ Start by lying on your back with the soles of your feet together, knees out to the sides and your arms straight up over your chest.

2/ Then raise your head and shoulders off the floor. Lower the body back down to the start position and repeat the movement. Keep the soles of the feet together throughout the exercise.

Scissor kicks

This is a great exercise for working your core and abs. Make sure that your lower back does not arch throughout the exercise putting pressure on the lower back.

1/ Start by lying on your back with your legs straight and your arms by your sides, then raise your legs off the floor.

2/ Cross the legs over each other at the ankles and then open out to the side. Repeat the scissors-like movement.

Kettlebell Swing

1/ Start in a squat position, holding a kettlebell in each hand between your legs and with your arms straight.

2/ Then thrust your hips forward while at the same time swinging the kettlebells out and up to shoulder-height. Then let the kettlebell come back to the start position. It is important to keep your back straight throughout this exercise.

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