Posts on Feb 2015

Need For Speed – How Music Messes With Your Body

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Listening to music while running makes you feel lighter, better and studies show that you not only feel faster, but you actually are faster… at least a little. The research, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, tested the effect of music on 15 runners before, during and after they ran a 5km course. Important were measurements like heart rate variability, brain activity and arousal, during-run perceived effort and time, and post-mood.

Before the run test participants listened to motivational music, which sets at about 110 to 150 beats per minute – the measurements showed a decrease in vagal tone, which is a brain process related to the autonomic, or involuntary, nervous system; vagal tone affects the operation of internal organs, including the heart. In practical terms, a decreased vagal tone means that pre-run music aroused the runners and, according to the researchers, better prepared them for their 5K time trials. So far, so good.

Actually being on the 5km track, the runners listened fist to slow music with round about 80 to 100 beats per minute, and then to faster music, with 140-160 beats per minute. Although the first couple of rounds were run significantly faster then without listening to music, the time difference for the rest of the course was considered statistically insignificant.

Post-run, the athletes listened to calming music (95 to 110 beats per minute). As opposed to the no-music-at-all runners, their vagal tone increased, which means that their internal systems, including heart rate, were more quickly returning to normal. Because the goal of post-run recovery measures, such as hydration, nutrition and gentle exercise, is to speed the body’s return to its pre-workout state, this finding suggests that slow music after a hard run can help in that process.

So, what to make of this? Decide for yourself. Even if it doesn’t show in your actual laps times, and it’s just to make you feel better during a vicious hill sprint, or to give your life run a soundtrack, it’s worth it. Below there are some running music ideas to get you out of the house.

 

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CASUAL SUNDAY MORNING RUN
(not to confuse with the Ausfit Saturday morning run)

Eagles – Hotel California
Adele – Rolling In The Deep
Gorrilaz – Feel Good Inc.
Ben Howard – Keep Your Head Up
Passenger – Shape Of Love (ft. Boy and Bear)
Vance Joy – Riptide
Adele – Rumour Has It
Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (ft. T.I. and Pharrell)
Sean Kingston – Beautiful Girl
M.I.A. – Paperplanes

MID-TEMPO-STILL-TALKING RUN  (around 140 BPM)

Coldplay – Charlie Brown
One Republic – If I Lose Myself
AJR – I Am Ready
Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire
Sheppard – Geronimo
Sam Smith – Money On My Mind
A-Track  – Push (ft. Andrew Wyatt)
Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks
Meghan Trainor – Lips Are Movin
Linkin Park – Bleed It Out

SPEED OF LIGHT RUN AKA I’M PUMPIN’ (160-180 BPM)

Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Can’t Stop
Michael Sembello – Maniac (from Flashdance)
MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This
Skrillex – Bangarang (ft. Sirah)
The Prodigy – Firestarter
Tailor Swift – Shake It Off
Foo Fighters – The Pretender
Pharrell Williams – Happy
Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man

Quick And Tasty – Easy Lunch Ideas To Prepare The Night Before

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By the time Sunday rolls around, the couch and movies seem way more interesting than slaving in the kitchen for hours, just to prepare lunch boxes for the upcoming week. If you give in, you know, and we know where you going to end up: pizza, pasta, muffin cuffs!
But fear not, we’ve got you covered. Here are three easy-peasy lunches that are prepared in no time, can be eaten even on day 2 and have 500 calories, or less.

 

CHICKEN AND CABBAGE SALAD

Why? Because a portion comes to 575kJ and with 35 minutes cooking time you can easily prepare this filling midday meal the day prior. The crunchy chicken salad has 4g of fat, 17g of protein and therefore is good for you!

What you need:

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 For the dressing:

 

Step 1   To make the dressing, combine the lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, shallot, chilli and garlic in a screw-top jar. Shake until well combined

Step 2   Place the chicken in a large frying pan and cover with cold water. Season with salt and pepper. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside in pan for 15 minutes to cool. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 2 hours to chill.

Step 3   Finely shred the chicken with the grain and place in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, bean sprouts, carrot, mint, coriander and half the peanuts.

Step 4   Drizzle over the dressing and toss to combine. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining peanuts to serve.

 

TUNA AND HUMMUS WRAPS

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Why? Because tuna. And because hummus. And, it’ll take you 10 minutes to throw something together that will fill you up and satisfy your stomach for a couple of hours. 1903kJ, 14g total fat and 31g protein – boom!

What you need:

 

Step 1   Place the wraps on a clean work surface. Spread hummus evenly over each wrap. Top with tuna, cucumber, spinach and tomatoes. Sprinkle with mint and parsley. Roll to enclose filling. Cut each wrap in half and serve immediately.

 

BEEF AND BLACK BEAN STIR-FRY

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Why? Because rice with a delicious, thick sauce is always a good idea and because it’s super easy to do. Especially when you’re happy to eat the same stuff a couple of days in a row, then this is for you! 20 minutes of prepping, 10 minutes of cooking, 1910kJ per serve with 11g of fat and 36g of protein. Yum, yum!

What you need:

  • 2 teaspoons cornflour

 

Step 1   Combine the cornflour, half the soy sauce and half the sherry in a bowl. Add the beef and stir to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate.

Step 2   Meanwhile, combine the stock, black bean sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and remaining soy sauce and sherry in a bowl.

Step 3   Heat 2 teaspoons peanut oil in a wok over high heat until just smoking. Stir-fry half the beef for 2 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with 2 teaspoons of remaining peanut oil and remaining beef, reheating the wok between batches. Heat remaining peanut oil in wok. Stir-fry the onion and capsicum for 3 minutes or until tender. Add ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Add the beef and stock mixture. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Divide the rice and stir-fry among serving bowls. Top with shallot.

 

All recipes can be found on taste.com.au

Protein – What, Which and Why?

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Protein powders provide you with a low fat protein source that is convenient and cost effective, meaning, it is a nutrient that is necessary for the proper growth and function of the human body – male, and female. Obviously, there is considerable debate over the amount of protein an adult needs to consume per day. The current recommended daily intake (RDI) for protein is 46 grams for women aged 19-70, and 56 grams for men aged 19-70. Any excess protein is turned into energy by the body. A deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy, and impaired functioning of the human body in general.

Of course men seem to make more use of proteins and other muscle-growing substances, than women, but fact is that protein can be part of a healthy diet and a balanced meal plan. The trick is to know how what exactly you need, how much you need of it and what you’re substituting it with.
The biggest factors that influence which protein powder you should choose are generally:

  • What do you need to achieve by using it?
  • Are you allergic to any of the main ingredients such as lactose, soy, casein or eggs?
  • Does the powder contain any enhancements?
  • Are you vegetarian or vegan?

 

DIFFERENT TYPES

white powder of whey proteinThe general types of protein can be divided into two main categories: animal sourced proteins, including milk derivatives, whey, casein, goat’s milk and egg whites; and vegetable sourced proteins, such as soy, rice, pea and hemp proteins. Nutritionally, animal sourced proteins are superior to vegetable proteins, as they generally are complete proteins. This means they contain the necessary amino acids, which are commonly not found in vegetable based protein powders, unless they are added as an enhancement. Vegetable based protein powders are normally used by those who are vegetarian or vegan.

The most common animal protein, whey protein, comes in two varieties: whey concentrate and whey isolate. The advantages of each are:

Whey concentrate is more economical per gram of protein. It has a low lactose level that is well tolerated by most lactose-sensitive people. It has higher amounts of fat and carbohydrates that are relative to your overall nutrient intake. Whey isolate is virtually fat-free and right for those wishing to eliminate as much fat from their diet as possible. It is typically lactose free for those few individuals who are very sensitive to the low-lactose levels found in whey concentrate. Whey isolate tends to taste slightly better than whey concentrate too, yet its consistency is a little thinner.

Casein or Milk Protein

Like whey protein, casein protein is another milk protein derivative. Since most of the protein in milk is casein, the terms milk protein and casein protein are generally used loosely to describe the same product. The key difference between whey and casein is that whey is absorbed in the digestive system quickly, whereas casein is absorbed slowly and steadily, making it a great protein to be taken on an evening before bed. Taste-wise they are similar, both are more or less tasteless in their unflavoured and unsweetened state. At times casein is normally thicker.

Vegetable Proteins

Among the vegetable source proteins, soy, rice and pea protein are by far the most popular. Soy and hemp are unique among vegetable protein sources in that they supply all eight essential amino acids. Most vegetable proteins lack one or more. Soy has additional benefits – the isoflavones in soy provide antioxidant benefits, heart health benefits and is often used by women transitioning through menopause. For all its benefits, soy protein has a characteristic taste that, while not unpleasant, can be hard to completely mask with flavours and sweeteners.

Enhancements

Besides protein, flavours and sweeteners, many manufacturers add other ingredients to enhance the product’s nutritional value and taste, or to make it more enjoyable to use. Other protein powders are enhanced with digestive enzymes to help improve the absorption of large servings of protein.
Another way to enhance a protein powder is by adding amino acids to improve its nutritional value. Although whey protein contains all the necessary amino acids, it doesn’t provide them in equal amounts. By adding amino acids like glutamine, BCAAs and arginine, the nutritional benefits of that protein are extended and enhanced. Other types of enhancements include the addition of carbohydrates and nutritional fats to the protein and/or the addition of vitamins and minerals. However, when these types of ingredients are added, the products can no longer called protein powders. Such products are known as meal replacements or gainers.

Guilt-Free Pancakes

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As we often choose to celebrate specific occasions throughout the year that mean something to us, I am guessing that you didn’t know there was one specific day, just dedicated to pancakes! And why not? Pancakes are awesome! But like everything loaded with sugar, white flour and butter, they’re not the best for . To combat the overwhelming feeling of post pancake guilt, we have found a great healthy pancake recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop Vanilla protein
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

 

Directions

  1. Place raw, uncooked oatmeal in a blender or food processor and blend until it becomes fine flour.
  2. Add eggs, banana, protein powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, and pulse blend until smooth.
  3. Toss blueberries into the batter and mix using a spatula or spoon.
  4. Place a pan on medium-high heat and measure out about 1/8 cup or 2 tbsp of batter per pancake. Use small amount of coconut butter to lubricate the pan.
  5. Cover the pancakes while they cook to help the inside cook faster. Cook them for about 45 seconds to 1 minute on the first side, and then about 30-45 seconds on the other side.
  6. Enjoy some great, guilt free pancakes!

 

Cinnamon helps to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels and is a source of iron, which improves your ability to transport blood to your muscles so they get workout-powering nutrients. Whey protein powder contains the amino acid leucine, which helps your muscle fibres grow and repair after a gym session. Blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants among berries. They are also low-GI, which means they release their energy slowly, and count towards your daily five portions of fruit and veggies. Enjoy!

How to find the right goals

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As we move into February this is the time 80% of the new years fitness resolutions have been dropped. There are various of reasons and excuses as to why people give up on their fitness dreams. Here are some guesses: training is too hard, you are scared to start from scratch, you don’t know where to start, you want to lose weight, be fit, trim up, but don’t know how to do that. And so on.

You need to design your goals using the SMART goals principal:

SPECIFIC                Set specific goals, e.g. to lose 10kg

MEASURABLE       Ensure you can measure the progress of your goals – numbers don’t lie

ATTAINABLE         Your goals need to be obtainable – it is impossible to lose 15kg in two weeks

REALISTIC              Make sure your goal is realistic both in the timeframe and the

TIME-BOUND        Your goals need to have a deadline, which always needs to be realistic

When creating goals ensure you have a mix of long, medium and short term goals to keep motivated, these all depend on your individual level of commitment:

SHORT TERM GOALS
… can be as short as 1 day! For instance, if you’re a sugar junkie, and can’t go without your fix for the day, then it is highly recommended to starting small. Go one day without a trip to the vending machine.

MEDIUM TERM GOALS
Medium term goals are them best way to ensure you remain on track to achieving your overall long term goal. They can range from a week to a month depending on your specific goals is. A great medium term goal is to attend a minimum of three training sessions per week. Without medium term goals you’re making much harder on yourself to achieve your overall goal.

LONG TERM GOALS
Other than to remain active and healthy, long term goals are the reason why we train, whether its to achieve a dress size, gain or lose weight, or even set a performance based goal to achieve them you need to focus at the beginning of the goal pyramid – short term goals.

 

As soon as you determine your SMART goals, tell your family, tell your friends, post it on Facebook! As soon as it’s out of your head, it’s no longer a thought – it’s reality. If you begin to lose focus, your friends and family will be the first to ask you about your progress and if you train with AUSFIT, you’re then accountable to the team.

So stay focussed, and never forget why you started!

The Perfect Squat

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Squats are one of the most functional movements in our lives

Since we discovered our ability to squat as babies, we have done so, but as we get older its important to maintain correct posture and stance when performing squats, to not only get the most out of the movement, but to also minimize the risk of injury.

As the squat utilises more than one joint, it is classified as a compound exercise. A simple bodyweight squat uses almost every muscle group in the body – and if weight is added to the equation, it is a great functional exercise to strengthen your core, legs and back while increasing joint strength.

How to:

1. The Setup – Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.  Your toes should be pointed slightly outward – about 5 to 20 degrees outward.

2. The Look – Look straight ahead and pick a spot on the wall or in the distance to focus on. Focus on this point for the entire squat, not looking down at the floor or up at the sky.

3. Lower phase– As you begin to lower into the squat bring your hands up to be parallel to the ground. Keep your spine in a neutral position. This step is best described in two movements:

Imagine your about to sit down onto a stool, this will ensure your spine remains in a neutral position and you wont accentuate the natural curve of your back or hunch as you lower.

Then finally lower in this position until your quads are parallel to the ground. Note: ensure your knees do not go over your toes, causing the weight to shift from the heel to the ball of your foot.  

4. Raise phase ­­– once your quads have reached the parallel position, its time to return to the standing position. This is done by driving through your heels, engaging your core and raising to the standing position. Note: remain conscious of the weight remaining at the heel and the knees not bending inwards during the raise.