Super Foods

Are you looking to make your diet super? Forget about normal food and hop on the super food bandwagon! Super foods, aka foods that are nutrient dense, can transform your diet. Here are a few of our favourite foods that pack a major punch.

Greek Yogurt

Who doesn’t love Greek yogurt? Thick, creamy and packed with protein and probiotics, this is the perfect breakfast or anytime food. Eat it plain or sweeten it up with fruit for breakfast. Use it in place of sour cream, cream cheese and mayo all day long. The flavour is subtle so it’ll transform quickly with spices.

Quinoa

Ditch the rice and grab some quinoa! This South American superfood is jam packed with all nine amino acids along with a hearty dose of protein. You can use it in any recipe that calls for rice or couscous. It will add bonus nutrients and an amazing taste.

Blueberries

Loaded with fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants, these impressively little fruits deserve a permanent place on your grocery shopping list. According to experts, they might even improve your memory! Sprinkle some over your oatmeal or eat ‘em plain.

Kale

Looking to add more antioxidants to your diet? Leaf per leaf, this is the number one source of antioxidants in the garden! It’s also a great source of iron, fibre and calcium.

Chia

On top of being the pottery that grows, these amazing little seeds are full of iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

Oatmeal

An oldie but a goodie, this classic breakfast table staple is full of antioxidants and fibre. It’ll keep your digestive system running like a dream while the slow release carbs will keep you feeling full for hours. Did you know it can even lower your cholesterol level?

Chobani Yogurt, Oats and Chia

Three of our favourite superfoods, delicious together! Photo cred: @thebitingtruth

Green Tea

Haven’t started drinking green tea yet? Join us! All of the healthiest people from the last couple of centuries have found antioxidant-rich green tea to be the secret to a long, healthy life.

Broccoli

You may have hated it as a kid but it is time to start loving it! Packed full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and folate, these ugly little green flowers are an essential part of a healthy diet.

Strawberries

Here’s a superfood that’s easy to swallow! These delicious little berries will give your immune system a major boost while proving you with a major dose of vitamin C. Thanks to their natural sweetness, they are a favourite of many dieters. Grab a cup next time you are craving sweets!

Salmon

Last but certainly not least, salmon is the most powerful food in the non-vegetarian category. Full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is the natural star of any healthy meal. There are a million and one healthy ways to cook it so start experimenting!

A Guide To Training When You Are Sick

 

AMANZI Girl Charlotte eager to get back in the pool

To train or not to train when you’re feeling sick? Photo credit @chardurand

When you get into the rhythm of a training schedule, a cold or another illness can throw a huge cramp in your style and many athletes are left with the question whether it is a good idea to train or not. Depending on who you ask, exercising when you are sick can either be the worst thing in the world to do for your body or the best. We came to the conclusion it really depends on the illness and the individual. This brief guide will help you decide whether to keep on training or to temporarily throw in the towel.

The Pros and Cons

The arguments for whether to train or not are not all that complicated: exercise can either make you better or worse! So which one is it? The answer is that it really depends on the type of exercise, illness, environmental conditions and the individual.

Exercise is a great way to boost our metabolism and immunity, and this ultimately can mean helping your body get better faster. Essentially there was a little bit of truth to the myth of sweating an illness off. It will also help you make sure your physical progress does not deteriorate as much during the course of the illness.

However, that doesn’t take into account the severity of the illness. If you are running a high fever, raising your core temperature with exercise is a terrible idea that will make you sick. Exercise also can leave you depleted of energy to fight off an illness if you are extremely weak.

Basically, you’ll need to use a little common sense to try to navigate the answer to this question.

To Train, or not to Train?

In this case it is sometimes best to go with how you are exactly feeling to determine whether you should exercise or not. If you don’t feel like you can get out of bed, going on a jog is probably not the best idea. However, if you feel like you have regular energy levels with a just few symptoms then you are probably ready to go.

One rule of thumb that many athletes go by is feeling where the cold is in the body. If your symptoms are the throat and up, then you are probably fine to train. If your symptoms reach down to the chest along with any aches or pains, it is best to sit it out.

One last thing to remember is that you should definitely not start anything new or difficult while you are sick. At most you should just do your standard training distance and time or even go a little less far and hard in order to not overwhelm your body.

Listening To Your Body

Obviously since you are sick, you are not going to be able to push as hard as normal. It is important to have body awareness. If you feel worse for the wear after exercise then you’ve probably pushed too hard, and you should take that as a learning experience. On the other hand, when your body feels a little bit better after exercise that means you’ve done the perfect amount.

Remember don’t feel like you absolutely must train during an illness. Sometimes taking a short break will help refresh your enthusiasm, so when you finally are feeling 100% again, you’ll literally be ready to hit the ground running.

The Truth about Juice Cleanses

Juice cleanses

Photo cred: @recoveryfortiffany

Ready to purify your body of all its nasty, dirty toxins? If you are thinking about doing a juice cleanse, there are a few things that you should know before you grab a kilo of oranges!

First things first, know that your body is fine. You aren’t overloaded with toxins. If you are eating a reasonably healthy diet and getting some exercise, your body is probably in great shape. Secondly, if you are having some issues, talk to a doctor. Whether it is aches and pains, fatigue or something more serious, juice isn’t going to fix it.

The vast majority of doctors are underwhelmed by juice cleanses and advise people to be wary of anything labelled “detox” that promises to purify or cleanse your body in some way. If you have got a liver, kidneys and intestines, you’re good to go. Your body is a powerful, self-cleaning machine!

If you are going to help out your body, do it by eating a balanced diet. While you could do that through juice, it is a whole lot easier to just have normal food. For the best results, skip the juice and eat fruit. Grab some vegetables, dairy and grain to go with it.

Your body simply isn’t meant to sustain itself on just juice. We need variety. While fruit is great, you need it in moderation. Having too much juice means way too much sugar. This will cause your pancreas to overproduce insulin and your blood sugar will be all over the place. Without protein and fibre, your metabolism is going to take a major hit.

At the end of the day, there is just no upside to a juice cleanse. While you might lose some water weight, it has been consistently proven that juice cleanses don’t produce long term results. So, your weight will stay the same and you will deprive yourself of nutrients and vitamins. You will have much more success losing weight and becoming healthier by introducing more fruit into your diet and focusing on making your diet more diverse.

Bottom line: In the short term, juice cleanses aren’t going to hurt otherwise healthy people. Your body can live temporarily without proper nutrition but you definitely aren’t going to gain anything from it. Do yourself a favour and let your body take care of itself! Save all the fruit and make yourself an amazing fruit salad for dessert.

What Swimmers Should Eat Before and After Training

Keep it simple, fellow fishes! There are so many rumours floating around what you should and shouldn’t eat before and after training. It is enough to make your head spin. So much of the advice out there is contradictory or just impossible to follow. Ultimately, when it comes to eating healthy, it is all about common sense and healthy basics.

You don’t need anything fancy before and after your workouts. While nutrition shakes and supplement bars might be great for some people, they are far from necessary. In fact, some of the big name so-called healthy shakes and bars are downright terrible for you. As a general rule, you are much better off to stick to foods with ingredients that you can pronounce and recognise.

When it comes to fueling up before your swim training, your body needs carbs, protein and water. No fancy foods required here! Your muscles depend on carbohydrates for quick energy so fill up on bread, pasta, cereal or rice.

Big bowl of pasta

A big bowl of pasta is the perfect thing to keep you energised at training! Photo cred: @recoveryfortiffany

To facilitate the flow of oxygen to your muscles, your body also needs protein. Chow down on healthy cuts of protein like skinless chicken or turkey. If you are in the mood for red meat, go for a ground beef that is at least 90% lean. For you vegetarians out there, opt for beans and lentils. There is a massive variety of beans and lentils out there so make an effort to experiment as much as you can to keep things interesting.

Of course, the most important thing of all is water! Be sure to drink at least half of a litre of water about two hours before you break a sweat. For a basic workout, water is enough. If you will be working out for more than an hour, a sports drink is good for replenishing your electrolytes.

Whatever foods that you choose to have before your workout, make sure that it is low in fat and fibre. You should also stick with familiar foods that don’t cause indigestion. Loading up on a greasy pizza or chips before your workout is just asking for trouble.

When it comes to refuelling after your workout, you just need a bit of protein. Go for a hard-boiled egg, protein shake or even just a quick chocolate milk. It is important to remember that nearly all of us are already meeting or exceeding our protein needs so don’t go crazy with it. You can definitely have too much of a good thing.

Stay warm after your workout

While swimming outside can be wonderful, it can also freeze you to your core! Even if you are feeling warm in the pool, you might feel pretty differently when you hop out. Thanks to icy cold winters in the Northern Hemisphere and unheated outdoor pools, it can be tricky to keep outdoor swimming in your routine.

On top of being uncomfortable, being too cold can be downright dangerous! You already know about the dangerous of frostbite but did you know that the cold even impacts your muscles and your likelihood of injury?

Fortunately, a little bit goes a long way when it comes to getting your training routine heated up. It is important to have the right gear. If you are planning to swim in cold sea water, get a wetsuit. While sleeveless wetsuits might seem more comfortable, you will lose a lot of heat through your armpits. Opt for a full suit and be sure to keep your head covered with a cap and stick earplugs in to keep your core temperature high.

AMANZI Girl Courtney Home in her wetsuit

AMANZI Girl Courtney doing it right this winter! Photo cred: @corky93

If you can relax in a sauna after a cold swim, this is the perfect way to keep your body heated up. If not, ditch the freezing cold wetsuit when you get out of the water and start layering on warm clothes. Rather than throwing on a thick jacket, layering is great because it allows you to slowly strip down as you start to warm up again.

It’s important to remember that your body is always fighting to stay at a comfortable temperature. When you allow your body to get too cold, you are more susceptible to picking up cold and flu viruses so don’t make your body work harder than it needs to! Regulate your temperature after your workouts when your body is already tired out.

When your muscles become cold too quickly, you increase your risk of injury. A sudden burst of cold affects your blood flow and can affect your body’s recovery rate. This is the reason for cooling down slowly after workouts as well as preventing your body from being hit with a sudden burst of cold after leaving the water.

The best thing that you can do after a cold swim is get out of the water and do some cool down exercises. When you leave the water, dry off, layer up your clothing and take a brisk walk. This will allow your heart rate to drop more gradually while reducing your risk of injury and post-workout pain.

So, outdoor swimmers, there is no reason to let chilly weather push you inside! Come prepared and you can enjoy your swim training almost anytime, anywhere.

Caffeine before training?

A lot of athletes down an energy drink before every workout but is that really a good idea? Does caffeine actually enhance your performance? Or are there too many side effects?

Before you decide what to drink, you should know exactly what it is you are putting into your body! Caffeine works by increasing your blood pressure, pulse and stomach acid production. When you drink caffeine, fatty acids are released into your blood stream. This leaves you feeling full of energy.

The full effect of caffeine hits you around 45 to 60 minutes after you drink it. This effect can help you push your body harder during workouts. When you drink caffeine, your body uses through its fuel, glycogen, more slowly. In basic terms, that means that your body is in power saving mode so you will be able to push yourself through longer workouts. On average, caffeine increases you performance by about 10%.

So, how much caffeine is safe to drink? The recommended intake for teens is 100 mg per day while adults can have as much as 250 mg per day. Here’s how the numbers in your favourite drinks add up:

Cup of tea: 11 mg of caffeine

Can of Pepsi: 39 mg of caffeine

Can of Diet Coke: 42 mg of caffeine

Shot of Espresso: 64 mg of caffeine

Can of Red Bull: 80 mg of caffeine

Small coffee before training

There may be almost half of your daily caffeine needs in that tiny coffee! Photo cred: @laurajanedennis

When you are watching your caffeine intake, it is really important to pay attention to serving size. If you order a small coffee, you’ll be getting 110 mg of caffeine. Splurged on a large sized coffee? That is going to be almost 280 mg of caffeine. When you are grabbing a drink, remember that not all cups and cans are created equally! You could be getting four times as much caffeine as you think.

If you are going to have caffeine in a healthy way, you really do need to pay attention to serving sizes. And, even more importantly, it is best to pay attention to your body. Peoples’ caffeine tolerance vary so much! While your friends might be able to gulp down caffeine all day long, you might get a stomach ache from one can of soda. Work with your body, not against it! If you are feeling jittery and your heart is racing, drop your drink and get in the habit of scaling back.

One thing you don’t have to worry about too much is dehydration. The old school idea that caffeine dehydrates you is a myth! Unless you are consuming more than 600 mg of caffeine per day, you won’t be have to worry about dehydration. Of course, as an athlete, you should always make sure that you are regularly sipping on water but having the occasional caffeinated drink isn’t going to do any harm.

So, future Olympians, do what works for you! If you combine a bit of caffeine with a healthy diet and your body doesn’t protest, go for it. Like all things, enjoy in moderation!

Top 5 Swim Apps

Just because you can’t take your phone into the water doesn’t mean that you can’t use your phone to take your swimming to the next level. Check out these five amazing swim apps that will take you where you want to go!

SwimPB: This is a great app for keeping you motivated. Swim PB maintains a historical record of all of your swim times. The app creates lists of your current personal best times for every event. If you are looking for a simple, straightforward app to record all of your times or maintain your swim team’s records, this is exactly what you need.

GoSwim: Go Swim is home to all things swim related. Get free training videos alongside weekly inspirational pics and articles, as well as swimming news from around the world. Go Swim has a great fan wall where you can chat with other swimmers to share tips and tricks or just enjoy a good read.  Go Swim’s Twitter feed is home to a current and constant stream of international sporting news.

AMANZI Triathlete Charlotte Durand

Improve your stroke with the advice of the best coaches out there. Photo credit @chardurand

Swim Coach Plus: This isn’t your grandma’s swim coach! If you are looking to improve your technique, this is the place to go. Whether you are a beginner or on your way to the Olympics, Swim Coach Plus HD is a powerful tool. Its video features basically bring the best coaches in the world to your pool so that you can get exactly the feedback that you need. Record your moves, get feedback, watch the best swimmers in action and master your technique!

Active Goals: This app from the ACTIVE Network is designed for runners, cyclists, swimmers and triathletes. You can log all of your workouts and meet other swimmers from around the globe. Set goals for yourself then track your progress. Active Goals has a gorgeous array of graphs and lists that will keep your motivated.

Meet Mobile:  Another great tool from the ACTIVE Network, Meet Mobile will give you all of the swim meet info that you will ever need. No matter how big or small the event, you can get real-time results alongside all of the latest info on your favourite swimmers and upcoming local meets.

 

The Amazing Benefits of Stand-Up Paddling         

Looking for a way to mix up your routine? For an ultra-fun way to burn some calories and get in shape, you have got to try stand-up paddling! It is the perfect way to improve your strength and balance while enjoying the water.

Stand-up padding works just about every single muscle in your body. Because stand-up paddling is all about balance, your leg and core muscles will be working hard to keep you in place. This will help you develop a better sense of balance, which is a major perk in each and every sport. Although you might have a few falls into the water when you first get going, you will develop perfect balance in no time.

AMANZI Girl Charlie

AMANZI Girl Charlie has mastered the art of SUPing. Photo cred: @charliemuttdon

It might not seem like it at first glance but stand-up paddle boarding is a full body workout. While your core and legs keep you stable on the board, the muscles of your back, arms and shoulders will be pushing to propel your paddleboard through the water. You can vary the intensity of your workout by going into a wavy ocean or drifting along through calm seas.

Another major perk of stand-up padding is that it is low impact. You can get an amazing workout with basically no wear and tear on the tendons and ligaments of your joints. Your risk of injury while stand-up paddling is very low. In fact, it is a great workout to do if you have already been injured and need a low impact way to workout.

BUT just because it is a low impact sport doesn’t mean that it won’t seriously kick your butt! Stand-up paddling packs a serious punch and will give you amazing cardiovascular benefits while burning tons of calories.

It is very easy to start stand-up paddling. All you need to do is find a place to hire supplies. If you are a totally newbie to the world of board sports, you will want to choose a wide, long, thick board. The more substantial your board is, the more stable it will be when you take it out on the open water. When you become more experienced, you can use progressively smaller boards. As far as paddles go, look for a paddle that is approximately six to ten inches taller than you.

Once you have your equipment, you are ready to go! Most equipment hire places will give you a quick tutorial on how to get the right technique going and that’s all you need. Ultimately, it is all about balancing yourself so you can easily learn stand-up paddling on your own with a bit of practice.

Happy paddling!

 

What is TRX? Can It Really Help with My Training?

How would you like to have a workout routine designed by Navy SEALs that is cost effective, versatile, portable, durable and easy to get started with? Let me introduce you to TRX! It is the latest fitness craze that is producing real results.

Forget about silly gimmicks. TRX training is based on the latest scientific research on fitness as well as ideas taken from the military, pro sports and academic institutions. It uses your own body weight and gravity to make your workouts intense. By simply adjusting your body, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level. The best news about this is that you can keep the same gear for ages without outgrowing it as your fitness level advances.

AMANZI Girl Corrie pumping out chin-ups

No more boring chin-ups, mix it up with TRX training! Photo cred: @corriescott1

You can go for high speed workouts or slow, strength-building moves. It is all up to you! That is why so many top level trainers and athletes are obsessed with TRX. You can build strength with every movement while engaging your core the entire time for a full body workout.

The TRX suspension training system will totally transform your workout. Using gravity and your own body weight, you can perform hundreds of different exercise with a single piece of gear! To up your game even further, go for The Rip Trainer. It will add hundreds more exercises to your routine for high speed striking movements or slow speed strength and stability exercises.

I know it sounds too good to be true and it almost is. But, like so many of the best things in life, it will win you over with its simplicity. While it is flawlessly engineered, it is also incredibly easy to use. You can take it with you anywhere and spend years learning new exercises. There are also plenty of gyms around who have the equipment and offer fun group TRX classes or personal training sessions incorporating TRX training. For those of us who get bored with workouts easily, this is a real game changer. So, what are you waiting for?

Learn to love Protein

Ready to up your game? If you are going to get serious about training, you need to get serious about protein! A healthy diet is the number one factor in getting fit. If you want to start building muscle, protein is your new BFF. Here is everything you need to know about it.

What is protein?

Let’s get technical for just a second. If you are really going to get serious about training, you need to understand how your body works and what it needs. When it comes to building muscle, protein is truly essential. In fact, it is the only nutrient that is directly responsible for building muscles.

By helping to build muscle protein, protein facilitates muscle growth and recovery. The amino acids in protein is what creates the energy that our bodies need for growth. They allow our muscles to rebuild themselves after a rough workout. Without protein, exercise will just leave you exhausted and prone to injury.

How much protein do I need?

Like so many things in life, needs vary from person to person. What you need in your diet totally depends on what you are doing with your body. The average adult needs somewhere around 0.8 grams of protein per day per kilogram of body weight. That means that a 70 kg adult needs around 56 grams of protein.

Because protein is essential for building muscle, you will need around 1.5-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram. If you are focused on endurance, aim for around 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram every day.

How can I get enough protein?

So, now you know how much protein you need. Your next step is to figure out how to meet your dietary needs. It is a serious hassle to sit and count protein (and calories!) every single day so it’s good to get familiar with the protein count in your favourite foods. Here are some of the highest protein foods out there and how much protein you can get per serving:

  • Chicken Breast: 30g Protein
  • Pork Chop: 27g Protein
  • Ground Beef: 26g Protein
  • Swiss Cheese: 25g Protein
  • Lamb Loin: 25g Protein
  • Salmon: 24g Protein
  • Ham: 23g Protein
  • Black Beans: 22g Protein
  • Almonds: 21g Protein
  • Pumpkin Seeds: 19g Protein

Once you know what to eat, it is pretty easy to meet your protein needs. If you are looking to get 60 grams of protein per day, you can meet your needs with just two pieces of chicken breast per day. Unless you are a vegetarian or on a very resisted calorie count, most of us are getting a fairly healthy dose of protein. If you are a vegetarian, you will need to do a bit more planning but it is still very doable if you pay attention.

Chicken tacos

Get half your daily dose of protein with these delicious chicken tacos from @thebitingtruth

Am I eating too much protein?

As always, moderation is key! Eating too much protein puts a much greater strain on your kidneys and can cause dehydration. On top of that, excessive protein intake can cause weight gain. Although there are a lot of healthy high protein foods, protein-rich food tends to be high fat food so keep an eye on your calorie count!