Let me start my clarifying that I would never want to discourage anyone from running! Even more so if you are on a journey to improve your health. My whole business and life mission is to help others achieve great health! And this is exactly why I don’t think it is a great idea to use running to start getting fit or lose weight…. as I mentioned in our introductory post to this series, running is inherently hard, and carries with it about a 50% chance of giving you an injury in a year! What I really want to help you do is to LOVE running!
I don’t think it is a great idea to use running to start getting fit or lose weight.
Lets face it, doing anything while we are heavier is harder, and the harder it is, the less likely we are to do it long term. In addition, being heavier would logically put greater stress on joints, connective tissue and muscles. Interestingly, research doesn’t strongly support this logic. Body Mass Index is not a predictor for injuries, other than plantar fasciitis (an injury to the connective tissues of the sole of the foot). However, poor body condition is a strong predictor of injury, so if we have gained weight due to not doing much, then lets make sure we approach this well.
I would recommend that we start to improve our conditioning to run in a few different ways. Firstly, looking at our nutritional intake is KEY. The most effective way to lose weight is to improve what we eat! If you are brand new to running, I would start by walking daily. A quick walk before and after work, or during lunchtimes will go a long way to start strengthening those tissues mentioned above, help with weight loss, and start to get your aerobic fitness going! I would then definitely add strengthening exercises, as we know that these will certainly protect you against injury, and increase your running efficiency – now we are talking! Then we can start to add a few jogs into those walks, or as part of your warm up and cool downs around your strength work outs. In our next post I’ll give you some ideas on how to start your actual running program.
Effects of weight on performance
I am always amazed at the effect that weight has on running performance. That is, how quickly you are likely to run a race… This is why elite distance runners are so light! For example, Lets assume that an 80kg male completes a 10km run in 50minutes. If his fitness and all other external conditions remain the same, but he now weighs 70kg, he would run those 10kms in under 45mins!
So, don’t run to get fit, as it’s less likely to last! Run because of everything you get from it… of course fitness will be a part of that, as weight loss will be, but there’s so much more to be gained from your time out in nature!
Picture this… Its January 1st. This year you want to lose weight! In fact you have
already started to cut out the cake at lunch, park your car further away from work and have joined the local yoga class. You have been weighing yourself daily and watching the numbers on the scales decrease. You have started off strong…
But then the weekend hits, you have that important birthday and you become discouraged. This weight loss thing doesn’t seem so fun anymore and you may have just convinced yourself you just don’t have self discipline! You have already resigned to the fact that any further weight loss is in fact impossible and you might was well start eating the cake at lunch time again. You begin to put that weight back on and focus your energy on something else. This vicious cycle continues again and again. Does this sound familiar?
How do we break out of the vicious cycle?
Goal setting helps quantify and clarify the ‘how,’ the ‘what,’ the ‘why’ and the ‘when’ behind these statements. The aptly named S.M.A.R.T goals provide you with direction, structure, accountability and give you a deadline to meet. The SMART criteria is as follows:
- Identifies exactly what you want to achieve.
- Studies have shown that task specific and challenging goals lead to higher performance than ‘do your best’ or no goals at all.
- Feedback or reward has been shown to increase task performance
- Places a measurable value on the task for example; centimetres; dress; minutes;
- It allows for re-evaluation to objectively review a goal
- Do you really believe you can do this?
- Your goal must challenge you enough to be outside of your comfort zone, however should be within your reach.
- Are both the goal and the timeframe you set to complete the goal realistic?
- Going from sedentary to running marathon distances may be realistic but doing this in 2 weeks may not be.
- Set a time frame to achieve this goal by. When do you plan to achieve this goal?
- Not only does writing down your goals increase success rate, but it has also been shown to improve happiness, satisfaction levels and also creates a sense of achievement.
A goal without a date is just a vision
- Try and limit the amount of goals you have at one time and prioritise them
- Follow the SMART goals principle and write them down
- Re -evaluate: goals are there to be adaptable and flexible to your current situations and change, a review of your goals with change of circumstances or a period of time is essential to the goal setting process.
- Share them with the people who will help you achieve them; choose wisely!
If you currently do not have any clear goals written down, I encourage you to set some time aside or book in for a review with your trainer to nut out what you want to achieve. Goal setting is something which most of us recognise the importance of to achieve success, so lets be SMART about it!
In our previous blog we looked at the evidence supporting the Paleo diet. While promising, these few studies were very short in duration, had relatively small numbers, and were targeted mainly at people with metabolic conditions.
What is still unknown though is the long term ramifications of eating the Paleo way as there are no studies that go beyond 3 months.
This makes it hard for us to predict.
However, there are many studies that look at the effects of dairy and grains on our health, the very foods that are excluded with the Paleo Diet. We only need to go to the NHMRC report on the Australian Dietary Guidelines to see the evidence.1 (more…)
It seems everyone has an opinion on the Paleo diet. Some herald it as the the saviour to the human race while others warn of its potential dangers.
It is a topic that polarises many people, and it certainly has created many misconceptions.
But who do we believe?
Many groups and individuals have vested interests. From celebrity chefs that have benefited from the paleo way by creating an empire of cookbooks and programs, to large organisations that receive funding from the food industry who may be feeling the pinch of decreased sales. (more…)
I have learned over the last decade+ of being not just a PT, nor just an Exercise Physiologist, but a lifestyle coach, that we are about to enter into a dark time for healthy exercise behaviours. Summer has made it so much easier to establish good food and exercise routines. But it’s hard to maintain our new healthy habits through easter, so lets make sure we stay on track!
Those that stuck to their NY resolutions may be in full swing and kicking some serious goals (hopefully this is you!), or perhaps starting to struggle with their choices… and I tend to find that Easter, with all its temptations, can be a good habit breaking time. Lets face it, the time changes making dark earlier, its getting a bit cooler, we get a few sleep ins, a few meals with friends, and yes… those sin provoking hot-cross buns!!! arghhh… who can resist them??!! We just had our first soup for the year at the Martins for dinner tonight… we are starting to cross over into winter behaviours, and these are never great for our body composition and associated health, right??
So here are a few tips to ensure that you keep going right through Easter into a healthy winter:
- No behaviours are inevitable. They are choices. make some good ones!
- Winter need not be the time to create a warmth layer out of body fat. That’s what clothes are for!
- Think of winter as your pre-season. Use it to get an advantage. Start today.
- Have a hot-cross bun. I will. But exchange your normal grains serve for it. Don’t have your normal toast for breakfast, and then have the buns as extras on top of your normal calorie intake.
- Include more play time. You have an extra long weekend. Spend some of that extra time playing with your kids, friends, even neighbours! great time to get to know them…. now, now, don’t be TOO competitive!
- Follow Tim Ferris’ advice and have a cheat day. You are going to be surrounded by chocolates, buns and other delicious and tempting foods. So give yourself a 24hr window to treat yourself. then get back on the band-wagon.
Ok, see how you go with that, and we’ll touch base on the other side of Easter and explore winter health in a bit more detail.
When it comes to diets there are literally hundreds of types to choose from, mostly built around the billion dollar weight loss industry.
But what about those of us who just want to eat healthy? What are the key components of a healthy diet that will ensure us a long and disease free life? (more…)