Personal trainer Matt Whitmore sets out a workout for the week ahead; follow his video, master the moves and make time to put them into practice. As you progress, combine new and old training to build a regime which works for you
Detox now for a fit 2012
Erggh it’s that time of year again! The party’s over and everyone around you is ditching anything and everything that provides them with a source of pleasure in life; coffee, cigarettes, chocolate, booze… it all feels a bit soul destroying. January is a great time to get on top of your health but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Check out my body boosting tips that will have you feeling superhuman before the week is over!
Every ‘fat turned skinny’ celeb is having a field day right now thrusting their before and after pics in our face. Before you sign up to the latest belly trimming, skin clearing, energy enhancing pills, potions or fitness fads, you should consider rejuvenating your bodies natural fat burning system with a gentle liver detox.
Most detoxes are overly complicated and many simply too extreme for our bodies, doing more harm than good. A gentle detox based on clean eating, hydration and getting some exercise induced endorphins is a better plan for January.
Here are some easy steps to implement over the next few weeks, all based on boosting the feel good chemicals in the body and encouraging steady detoxification. Hopefully are you are much more likely to enjoy this detox process and stick to it, reeping massive benefits and picking up some good habits for the future.
Ok so as a trainer I’m obviously going to rate exercise, but here’s the thing, what works for me might not necessarily work for you. At this time of year when good moods are few and far between I think it’s vital you enjoy your training and where possible get outdoors for a dose of daylight and fresh air. Run, walk, sprint, jump, crawl get outside and use the landscape as your gym.
I love hill sprints especially if there is a great view at the top! The Fitter London Fitness Explorer offers some great ideas on how to train outside and get your body moving how it was designed to.
Whatever you do make sure you move every day, some days work on elevating your heart rate and getting that endorphin rush! On other days just stick to walking home from work or some stretching and mobility exercises first thing in the morning. Listen to your body it will tell you what it wants to do each day.
If you’re not a fan of exercise you need to add more focus to your activity. Sign up to learning a new physical skill like rock climbing, martial arts, yoga, olympic lifting or swimming. Or enter an event that requires you to challenge your body and train in a way you never have before. The mental stimulus will take the chore out of training and experiencing progress will bring excitement back into your regime.
This is such a simple yet often overlooked aspect of detoxification. Promote physical detoxification with sauna’s or infra-red saunas, epsom salts baths and gentle skin brushing to stimulate the lymphatic system (start with the neck and chest and brush along the arms and legs towards the heart – brush softly + gently).
Yoga also aids detoxification by improving circulation, relaxing the muscles and joints and using breathing techniques to bring more oxygen to the lungs assists in the removal of metabolic waste. Fitter London’s yoga instructor Katie Morrison loves twisting postures and inversions: 'Twisting postures coil the torso, which massages and ‘rinses’ the internal organs of toxins. Inversions reverse the flow of blood, giving the heart a rest and helping to calm the mind, allowing your lymph gland to do its stuff on your immune system.'
Thanks to Katie I practise yoga most days even if it’s just a series of sun salutations to help restore my body. It doesn’t matter which you decide to do, I’ve tried lots of different types of yoga but I prefer flowing movement with different sequences and postures each time (and remember it’s all about enjoying what you do).
Keep it’s simple with the detox supplements and ideally seek advise from a nutritional therapist before starting any supplement protocol. I really like Metagenics Ultraclear Plus pH. An alkalising nutritional shake that improves the bodies pH balance. It can either be used to replace breakfast or consumed as a snack. It contains antioxidants A, C and E and a dose of B vitamins with Zinc and Magnesium. The amino acids support the phases of detoxification in the liver (take note all those about to embark on a juice only detox!) in particular N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine which boosts one of the most powerful antioxidants; Glutathione.
Pukka Clean Greens powder is a good all year round investment. A combination of alkalising green superfooods to help support detoxification. It tastes better than most green drinks but you will never claim it’s your favourite tipple! If, like me, you really struggle with the taste then add coconut water or lime juice. I have these during and after a workout to buffer the effects of lactic acid too.
Herbs are also great for aiding detoxification. A.vogel offer a good complex which contains milk thistle, artichoke and dandelion. Herbal teas are an even easier way to aid the detox process and provide a great substitute for caffeinated drinks. Nettle tea provides abundant health benefits, it’s high in calcium, potassium, B vitamins and is often used to treat headaches and constipation which can occur during detoxification. I’ll be honest here I’m not a great fan of herbal teas and suffer them more than enjoy them but I do like Dr Stuarts Detox tea as it has a lovely spearmint taste, not to be confused with Dr Stuarts Liver Detox Tea which will more likely make you heave!
It goes without saying that you ditch the booze, sweet treats and fast food. An effective detox diet is one that’s easy on the digestive system. Our digestive system is a vital aspect of detoxification both in terms of absorbing nutrients essential for the detox process and also in the eliminations of toxins. Simply removing gluten grains, dairy and legumes to minimise gut aggravation will help. You can always replace with sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice or starchy vegetables like butternut squash, celeriac and parsnips. I love the recipe book Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso for some creative and tasty natural based recipes.
Keep you diet as natural as possible and most importantly increase green leafy vegetable intake by 100% (spinach, watercress, kale, chard, collard). No one eats enough of this stuff and as one of the most concentrated sources of nutrition they should be a lifelong daily staple for everyone, nuff said!
Cut down on fruit. Although renowned for it’s antioxidant content, fruit also contains fructose (a form of sugar found in fruit) which is processed by the liver, so limit intake to 1-2 servings a day, your waistline will also benefit from the reduction of sugar. Organic berries are your best bet or save your money and stick with veggies instead.
Eat foods that contain sulphur, such as onions, help to keep the liver healthy. Also cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts are essential to any diet not just a detox, high in antioxidants and fibre to promote daily toilet trips but even more so they contain compounds that assist in metabolising excessive estrogen – a must if you store fat around your legs. and egg yolks which
Keep protein sources organic, wild and grass fed. It’s not easy and it’s expensive but overloading our liver with even more synthetic hormones and antibiotics defies the point of a detox, besides you’re saving on booze and fags! Wild fish is usually found in the frozen section of most supermarkets (don’t bother with organic fish). Don’t forget farmers markets and online meat retailers like The Well Hung Meat Company or Abel & Cole who provide delivery boxes. Eggs should also be organic not just free range.
The biggest challenge for me personally is sacraficing my beloved morning coffee. But in a detox ideally you remove all sources of caffeine, including tea, coffee, , coke, chocolate and sports drinks. Removing these stimulants really helps balance blood sugar as well as giving the liver a break. Most of us are midly dosed on caffeine 24/7 so you might experience mild withdrawal headache initially but it will go after a day or two.
Start each day with warm water and lemon juice to stimulate and cleanse the digestive system. Then consume two litres of clean water throughout the day, either filtered or spring/mineral water. You can add fresh lime, ginger, mint leaves, parsley, cinnamon sticks to flavour either warm or cold water. I personally love ginger steepers: just add 2 large chunks of peeled ginger and juice of half a lemon to a teapot or flask of hot water and steep for 20 minutes, if you like it spicy add more ginger.
Oh and one last thing, make some plans with the friends and family who make you laugh and love life. Just because the pub is out of bounds it doesn’t mean we have to stay in eating carrot sticks every night! Book some exciting stuff in your diary, check out new year deals on spa breaks, weekends away... think rock climbing, hiking, bike rides, caveman dinner parties - and book them now so you have something to look forward to.
So in a nut shell:
1. Exercise everyday alternating something gentle with something invigorating.
2. Flush out your body with clean water, flavour with alkalising limes and lemons.
3. Skin brush and stretch to promote physical detox.
4. Load up on veggies of all kinds.
5. Use your pub money to stock up on good sources protein; organic and wild where possible.
Have a good week ladies!