Archive for the ‘Health and Beauty’ Category

Women and martial arts

March 4, 2010

Martial arts for womenI came across this post today by a female martial artist and was amazed at how well she’d articulated the reasons why martial arts and, in particular MMA, can be such a rewarding sport. For both men and women.

There are no right or wrong reasons for getting in to martial arts. Maybe you do it just to get fit, perhaps it’s to fight or maybe one day to be the proud owner of a black belt. Whatever your motivation, I’ve learned first-hand that it’s a journey and a learning experience that can change you in so many ways: Confidence, fitness, ability, flexibility and mind-set, to name just a few. And despite what you might think, age and experience are not barriers.

So if you’re open to tranforming your body, skills and confidence in a way you could never imagine I highly recommend martial arts.  Plus, there are so many different types out there there that there really is something to suit everyone.

Are you a martial artist or perhaps someone who’s thinking of taking it up? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.


The science of pre- and post-workout nutrition

March 3, 2010

The science of a post- and pre-nutrition workoutIt seems that optimal nutrient gain is as much about timing as it is about composition.

According to a recent study, when you eat is just as important as what you eat.

To optimize gains in lean muscle mass and strength it’s vital to consume a combination of fast-acting carbs (those that cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly rather than slowly and steadily) and protein during your metabolic workout ‘window’.

Dr Paul Cribb from Victoria University recommends the following: mix 30-50g of high quality whey with 75-100g of high GI carbs (such as glucose, maltodextrin, etc.,) and 3-5g of creatine monohydrate. Drink half immediately before you hit the gym and the other half immediately following your workout.

Don’t think that a drink will produce results on it’s own though. You need good training and nutrition throughout the rest of the day to really make this work.

If you’re looking for an amazing nutritionist and strength coach in the Vancouver area I highly recommend you check out Cliff Harvey at Human Motion. Through his guidance I’m leaving for Thailand (on Saturday!) in the best shape I’ve ever been in.

Do you have any nutritional advice picked up during training?

Want to make your own sports drink?

March 2, 2010

Protein SourcesSometimes it’s hard to strike a balance between convenience and $. You pay more for something that saves you time…and sometimes things are just so crazy that it feels like you’ve very little choice other than to shell out.

With less than one week until Thailand life is spent dashing between work and training. So when I do finally arrive home, I’ve just about enough time to switch on the blender and gulp back a protein shake made from the bulk-buy, whey protein powder bought from the slightly intimidating body-buliding store.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I have time to make one from scratch. WOW. You can really taste the difference.

I’ve been using a book called Gourmet Nutrition  for most of my recipes and I can absolutely guarantee there’s a shake in there that you’ll love. Don’t be put off by the cottage cheese or cold herbal tea going in to the blender. Be brave; you’ll love what comes out. Just knowing that everything in your glass is natural will make you feel fabulously wholesome.

I also discovered a site this morning with a recipe for making your own sports drinks. I haven’t tried this one yet but, if you do, I’d love to know what you think of it.

Sleep your way to the top…of your game

October 21, 2009

Study indicates sleep improves athletic performance

Sweet DreamsAs athletes we are instinctively geared towards training harder, faster and more frequently. Taking a nap just isn’t in our nature. But this could be about to change.

A recent study on the sleep patterns of students on the tennis team at Stanford University shows that extra sleep can actually improve athletic performance. Over a period of five weeks, five students all increased the amount of time they slept for, after which their athletic abilities were tested to see if anything had changed.

The results were amazing. Not only did they sprint faster from the court baseline but they were serving and hitting the tennis balls more accurately.

The studies aren’t just limited to tennis players either. The author found similar results in Stanford’s men’s and women’s swimming teams as well as in the men’s basketball team. 

Maybe you really can sleep your way to the top…of your game.

Coming soon

October 20, 2009

Coming soon – top tips on increasing ham string flexibility from top strength training coach and nutritionist Cliff Harvey

UFC comes to Kits

October 5, 2009

UFC Comes to Kits picYou know you’ve been accepted in to the muscle-bound weights room when you receive the Ultimate Flattering Compliment (sorry to get your hopes up UFC fans!).

“Nice deadlifts.”

Previous experience shows that the more usual angle taken with flattery is to loosely base it around beauty or brains, but getting noticed because of your weight-lifting technique is definitely a first. In fact, I was so shocked by this unexpected left-fielder that I had to ask the poor man to repeat it three times until I actually caught on to what was being said.

Having finally grasped the bigger picture, the compliment appeared to be entirely without obvious motive, sly gesture or dodgy vibe. And considering that genuine flattery can sometimes be as rare as, say, a man who places down the toilet seat, my response was a slightly stunned double-take.

So I’d like to thank the nice guy in the grey t-shirt for his kind words. Despite the tough girl image I try and project in that male-dominated room, he still managed to make me blush. I guess inside every female fighter there’s still a girly girl lurking not too far below the surface.

Other compliments to pay a female fighter:

  • Great chest – is that a six pack?
  • Do you prefer to be on top or underneath? [Still hold back a smirk each time when asked this, despite the countless times it comes up in conversation when setting up ground sparring drills in Braziilian Jiu Jitsu]
  • Should we spar? [Note – this is definitely not an invitation to go on a spa retreat]
  • Want to go for a couple of rounds [Note – sadly this is not an invitation to the pub either]
  • What a knock-out [literally]

I’d love to hear of any others you can think of!

Eat (and drink!) your greens

October 2, 2009

GreensI’ve never had a glass of broccoli and algae up until now! It’s definitely an  interesting experience. One that I unfortunately end up reliving each morning, having seemingly forgotten how it tastes from day to day. Perhaps it’s just one of those things that you put to the back of your mind hoping to never experience again….or not, as the case may be.

I’m not entirely convinced there won’t be any side effects from such a green-looking drink but it forms part of a new nutrition plan, so there’s no room for argument. And with fewer than six months between now and Thailand, it’s about time the nutrition element got serious.

The idea of greens powders is that they provide all the nutritional supplements largely missing from a modern diet. But more difficult to swallow than a glass of greens has, quite surprisingly, been giving up hot chocolate cold-turkey-style. I didn’t realise I was quite so addicted to sugar and sweeteners until they were removed. Entirely.

Peppermint tea just doesn’t quite cut it and I’m torn between what I should have and what I want to have. So far I’m keeping the cravings at bay but I’m wondering if my self-discipline can outlast the weekend. Today is only day three!

Varnish with vigour

September 17, 2009

FeetWant to spot the female fighter in a spa? She’ll be the one having a pedicure begging the beautician to leave the hard-earned calluses just as they are, all the while wondering how long the varnish will last during her next session on the mats.

True to form, before long the training mats bore colourful war-paint streaks of orange and pink varnish where toes had pushed, pressed and scraped against them during Jiu Jistu sparring.

Was it still worth having a pedicure done? Absolutely! One of our many quests over the next six months, however, is to find a pedicurist in the city who can provide varnish with enough vigour to withstand these sessions. We may be more femmes fatal than femmes fatales, but it doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy indulging our girlie side.