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Best Christmas Gifts for Fitness and Sport Lovers

Best Christmas Gifts for Fitness and Sport Lovers

Christmas is coming and it is time to think about what type of Christmas gifts are you going to put under your tree! We have prepared for you a list of gift ideas for sports lovers (cyclist, gym bunnies or just fitness fanatics) to suit every taste, budget, and interest.

Mobvoi Ticwatch S (£178)

Looking for a nice water-resistant and fitness-focused smartwatch without breaking the bank? You should have a look at the Ticwatch S. It can track your heart rate, your steps, calories, and nutritional intake and works with the latest wear OS by Google. Plus, it enables you to map your workout routine!

Where to shop it: https://www.mobvoi.com/sp/products/ticwatch-s

Bam Zip-neck Bamboo Baselayer (£48)

If the person you would like to offer the gift, loves winter workouts, this gift is made for you! This bamboo baselayer offers an ultra-soft performance and a sweat-wicking comfort. Plus, Bamboo is better for the environment than cotton.

Where to buy it: https://bambooclothing.co.uk/shop/zip-neck-bamboo-baselayer-blue-bottle/

Petzl Reactik+ (£60)

Petzl Reactik is the light everybody needs in order to run safely in the 5pm dark during winter.  It adjusts the brightness (there are four lighting profiles) to suit the conditions and you can manage him through your smartphone for full customization.

Where can you buy it: https://www.decathlon.es/linterna-frontal-reactik-neg-300-lumenes–id_8375730.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxovc9f6U3wIVDbDtCh1JvgcQEAAYASAAEgIwxfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Buff ThermoNet (€23.65)

This face and neck protector is ideal when there is a real chill in the air. It will bring comfort and warmth for the outdoor bike rides or runs. You can check on the website all the different style.

Check it here: http://www.buffwear.com/buff-adult-headwear/thermonet

Pursoma After The Class Post-Workout Soak ($39.00)

This is the gift of relief and relaxation! After a hardcore workout session, the muscles get insanely sore. This luxe bath soak will relieve tension both mentally and physically.

Where to buy it: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077VLQ9VY?creativeASIN=B077VLQ9VY&linkCode=w61&imprToken=7Lakgw3iBWg0s0oPvA2stw&slotNum=3

Run Fast. Eat Slow. Nourishing Recipes for Athletes by Shalane Flanagan ($18.74)

This book is a unique fitness gift for the runners! The book is full of delicious, flavorful whole food recipes to lead a healthy lifestyle!

Where to buy it: https://www.amazon.com/dp/162336681X?creativeASIN=162336681X&linkCode=w61&imprToken=7Lakgw3iBWg0s0oPvA2stw&slotNum=10

Soft Gym Bag Oysho (29,99£)

This bag will make the fitness lovers happy! With a nice texture and 2 ways of carrying it, you can pack easily all you need to work out: shoes, legging, towels, etc. We love it! 

Where to buy it: https://www.oysho.com/gb/activewear/sports-bags/soft-gym-bag-c1010072015p101558503.html?colorId=197&typeCategory=0

 

Strengthen your immune system with these 7 superfoods

Strengthen your immune system with these 7 superfoods

Winter is here which means that your immune system is weaker because your body has to fight cold temperatures! Is your throat hurting? Or do you want to avoid getting a cold? Have a look at these seven healthy foods full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will help you stopping viruses before they start!

🔸Garlic

Besides adding some extra flavor to your meal, garlic is one of the best food to boost your immune system. A study demonstrates that eating garlic extract on a regular basis may improve blood pressure and reduce high cholesterol levels. Moreover, garlic is full of antioxidants (natural defenses).

🔸Ginger

Ginger, with its spicy taste, will not always please everyone but it is, however, a real superfood! You can add it to your drinks, teas, soups or even Asian dishes. Ginger has a lot of health benefits: it helps reduce inflammation, relieve pain and reduce nausea. Plus, did you know that Ginger can help you get rid of garlic breath?

🔸Goji Berries

Goji Berries are really good for your health in general because they are rich in vitamin C and B, in essential fatty acids, amino acids, and minerals! Mixed into a smoothie, or over your muesli for breakfast, it will give you an extra boost to hit the day!

🔸Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and provide a lot of vegetable protein (much more than other seeds). You can buy it in liquid or sprinkle the seeds over a salad or mixed in yogurt. It tastes delicious!

🔸Matcha

Matcha is undoubtedly the best way to fight a cold or flu. Matcha is a type of green tea, rich in free radical scavengers, vitamins, and minerals. You can consume the matcha powder in the form of a matcha latte or you can use it for baked goods. Make sure to check that the matcha powder is free of sugar and additives and store it preferably packaged in the refrigerator.

🔸Kale

Kale is a food high in antioxidants which will strengthen your immune system and may protect your body from diseases like Alzheimer’s. You can mix it into a smoothie or add raw kale to your favorite salads.

🔸Blueberries

Blueberries provide you important vitamins such as vitamin C and potassium that will protect you against disease. Blueberries are a good option in smoothies, baked oatmeal, yogurt or just as a snack.

Choose the right training for your body type

Choose the right training for your body type

Did you know that it exists 3 types of body, which are predominantly genetic but it doesn’t mean that you can’t change the shape of your body? Of course, if you have a straight and narrow physique, it will be difficult to transform your body in a hourglass figure but you can adopt a specific training in order to make the most out of your body type!

The 3 body types are Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph. Try to identify your body type with the description below and the picture in order to know which training (both strength and cardio) you should opt for. Of course, determining your body type is not always so obvious but you might notice that there is one type more predominant. 

 

  1. Ectomorph (check the body type with the blue rectangle)

The ectomorph body type is naturally very thin with narrow hips and shoulders, thin arms and legs and very low fat. This body type generally struggles to gain weight.

Your strength training:

  • Train with heavy weight with long resting time between each set (2-3 minutes) and between each exercise (5 minutes).

  • Focus on 1 or 2 body parts per day in order to avoid a caloric deficit.

  • You should do  5 to 10 reps and 6-8 sets for each exercise.

  • Our tip: don’t train a muscle group that is sore

Your cardio training:

  • Minimal cardio

  • Prefer moderate to low-intensity cardio exercise such as biking or speed walking.

 

2. Mesomorph (check the body type with the black triangle)

The Mesomorph body type is an intermediate between the Ectomorph and the Endomorph. It is the ideal body type for bodybuilding because you can win muscle easily. It is characterized by very strong legs, broad shoulders, and a narrower waist. People with this body type generally have also low fat.

Your strength training:

  • You will get better results if you do a varied training (light, moderate, heavy weight). You can do basic exercises such as squats, lunges, chest press, shoulder press with heavy weight followed by moderate or light weights.
  • For the legs, you can even incorporate really heavy weights (6 reps).
  • Do between 8 to 12 reps by exercise.

Your cardio training:

  • We recommend doing cardio training 3 days per week during 15-30 minutes.
  • HIIT training good be a good option for this body type

 

3. Endomorph (check the body type with the red square)

The Endomorph body type has more the shape of a pear and is more round. They tend to have more body fat, especially in the legs and arms. This is why it is much more difficult for this body type to gain muscle and easier to gain weight. But don’t blame your genetics! You can still work on it in order to come closer to the body type that you like.

Your strength training:

  • Total body workout in order to burn many calories
  • If you work with weights, prefer moderate weight lifting.
  • Aim for 8-12 reps and 3-5 sets for upper body and 12-20 reps for lower body.

Your cardio training:

  • 20-30 minutes cardio 3 days per week
  • Prefer easy cardio training such as swimming, biking, hiking, or walking

All these information are great to give you an idea of the direction you have to take. But remember that any kind of results takes time and consistency! So don’t give up and believe in yourself!

 

Forest Bathing: how nature can improve your quality of life

Forest Bathing: how nature can improve your quality of life

Life can be stressful and everybody needs to relax and pamper. Nature can totally be a loophole to escape problems. Indeed, researchers in Japan and South Korea have demonstrated that simply being surrounded by nature may improve your general health, by both reducing the feelings of stress and its impact on our body (cortisol, high blood pressure, energy) and minds (mood, sleep, focus). During the 1980s, forest therapy (named Shinrin-yoku) was developed in Japan and now the concept is spreading throughout the world.

The idea of forest bathing is that by spending quality time with nature, you can increase your mental and physical well-being. Of course, if you live in the city, it won’t be an easy task to incorporate aspects of forest bathing into your day, especially knowing that the recommended timing is 2-4 hours per session! But even if you manage to organize a longer nature chilling session one day per week, you can receive some health benefits.

How to do it?

Find a quiet place to settle yourself in the middle of nature (it might be in the forest, in a sprawling field, next to a river or even in the quiet corner of a park).

Obviously, pack away any distracting device (phone, camera, etc). Sit, take off your shoes, and breathe. The connection of your feet to the earth are really important to ground and connect.

Try to connect with nature with your five senses, one at a time by feeling, listening and touching the environment around you (listen to the tall grasses moving, the birds chirping, touch the grass, feel the sun on your skin, etc).

Spend the most time you can outdoors

Even if you live in the city, you can try to spend time outside and breathe fresh air (for example during your lunch outside if it’s a nice day). Exercising could be also a good opportunity to spend time outdoors. Go running or training in the park or in the garden! When you can do it, avoid the transports and go by foot!

Bring the nature in your house

If you don’t have access to natural spaces, invite nature to your place! This also forms part of the Shinrin-yoku therapy! Add plants, able to survive, in your living place, Moreover, plants clean the air you are breathing!

You can also opt for reed diffusers or essential oils (as cedar, fir, sandalwood or pine) or nature sounds (rainforests, ocean waves, crickets, etc). It’s also important to keep the air fresh and clean by opening the window (make the air circulate).

If you are interested in knowing more about this kind of therapy, you can read the book of Dr. Qing Li who digs into the Japanese concept of Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing).

 

The Benefits of Eating Fish

The benefits of eating fish

🔸Why eating fish is healthy?

Fish is part of the healthiest foods on the earth. Fish is lower in fat and is incredibly nutritious with important nutrients such as high-quality protein and vitamin D. Moreover, the best source of omega-3 fatty acids (the good fats) is undoubtedly the fish, which offer a range of health benefits. In order to meet your omega-3 requirements, it is recommended to eat fatty fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, and mackerel at least once or twice a week.

Find here a global overview of all the benefits of eating fish, all supported by studies.

🔸Fish may lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes

Eating fish promotes the good health of your heart. A study on 40,000 male health professionals has demonstrated that those who ate fish once or twice per week had a 15% lower risk of heart disease.

🔸Fish is important for prenatal and postnatal neurological development

Omega-3 fatty acids provided by fish are essential for the development of the brain and eyes. This is why it is highly recommended to eat fish high in Omega-3-fatty acids for expecting and nursing mothers (salmon, sardines, trout, etc). However, some fishes high in mercury are not recommended because they are linked to brain development problems. Pregnant women should also avoid raw fish.

🔸Fish reduces declines in brain function in old age.

With the aging process, our brain function is deteriorating with sometimes more serious effects such as neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer. Some studies have shown that people who eat more fish have slower rates of cognitive declines.

🔸Fish may treat depression and make you happier

Studies have demonstrated that people who eat fish on a regular basis are much less likely to become depressed. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids can also help people with mental disorders.

🔸The consumption of fish may reduce autoimmune diseases such as diabetes 1

A study has shown that the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil could reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes in children.

🔸Fish may improve the quality of your sleep

Some researchers believe that sleep disorders can be caused by a deficiency in vitamin D. A 6-month study on 95 men demonstrates that the fact to eat salmon three times per week led to a better sleep time.

🔸Fish may protect your vision in old age

In summary, fish are delicious, nutritious and good for your health! Prefer wild-caught fish over farmed, but all fish provide a wide range of benefits!

 

Quick workouts: what about the benefits?

Quick workouts: what about the benefits?

Many of you are wondering if quick workouts really make a difference? When, once again, you don’t have time to go to the gym or your energy seems very low, you decide to opt for a short home workout and you are wondering will it be worth it?

So if short workouts can really bring benefits, what are they?

A quick workout can provide benefits for general health and fitness. It also will help you to come closer to your weight loss goals. However, short workouts are not ideal if you have specific goals such as becoming stronger, having bigger arms, better muscles, etc. Indeed, if you want to build muscles, you will need a little more time than just 10 minutes a day.

According to a study, even a short training of 4 minutes can increase your cardiometabolic health, specifically for people having a very low level of fitness (significant decrease in mortality risk). Moreover, some individuals with overweight following a 2-month short and high-intensity workouts, had a better control of their blood sugar levels.

Short workouts have also another benefit: you are not so exhausted as regular workouts and your appetite doesn’t increase.

Another study has demonstrated that a 10 minutes high-intensity workout can improve your mental focus which makes it perfect for your break at work, before an exam or a study session.

In order to receive all the benefits properly, you should opt for a high-intensity workout at about 8 of a 1 to 10 level of discomfort (it should be hard to make your heart race).

So, short workout or no workout?

Clearly, the answer is short workout! If you are traveling, don’t have the time or just want to gain more focus throughout the day, do it! But of course, they shouldn’t be your only option!

In summary, you can improve your general fitness with quick workouts but keep it as an extra training when you don’t have time.

 

Beauty: soft hands winter kit

Beauty: soft hands winter kit

Say goodbye to dry hands and avoid cracked skin during winter with our tips for soft hands!

First of all, knowing the cause of your dry hands can help you to fix the problem from its source.

What causes dry hands?

In general, dry hands are due to a lack of hydration and moisture, unless you are suffering from psoriasis, eczema or another skin problem.

How to avoid having dry hands?

Here you have a list of the best things to do in order to prevent dry hands!

🔸Protect your hands with gloves

Dehydration can be caused by bad weather conditions (rain, cold, wind, hard sun). So when the temperatures are cold, rain is falling or wind is blowing, try to wear gloves specifically for your outdoor cardio time: when you run, cycle or exercise.

🔸Apply hand creams daily and take it with you everywhere

Opt for hand creams with ingredients that will help hydrating and lock the moisture inside of your hands such as glycerine, hyaluronic acid, petroleum, shea butter or lanolin.

Protect your skin from the heat too because high temperatures can make your skin feel thirsty.

🔸Drink water

As dry hands are most of the time caused by dehydration, don’t forget to drink your daily amount of water (2 liters/day).

🔸Avoid chemicals products

If you are always using an anti-bac when you are out of the house, consider using a natural alternative without any chemicals products or alcohol, which could seriously damage your skin.

The same for the household cleaning products, no surprise! Wear gloves when you transform yourself in a housewife.

🔸Hydrate your skin after swimming

Swimming or washing your hands repeatedly can take away the natural oils from your skin, which help to keep them hydrated. After swimming, you should apply a hand and body moisturizer in order to keep your hands soft.

Now you have everything on your hands in order to have soft hands! 

 

Why am I still hungry after eating?

Why am I still hungry after eating?

Modern society has created a major shift in the way we live and we eat. With the production of processed food, the stress, the lack of sleep and the never-ending communication on social media, our sensation of hunger has increased and we don’t listen to our body anymore.

Calories in versus calories out

Decreasing your calorie consumption dramatically won’t help you to lose weight and can also be dangerous for your health if your calories intake is lower than the number of calories you need daily (caloric deficit and risk of malnutrition). In general, it is recommended to have a calories intake of minimum 1,300 calories per day, depending on your height, weight, and activity.

If your body has a deficit in certain nutrients, it will increase your hunger (starvation mode). As your body is enduring a caloric deficiency, your metabolism, reproductive function, and brain activity will be slowed so that your body will burn the foods you intake at a slower rate which can explain that you won’t see any weight loss results.

But the fact that you are feeling hungry after eating is not only about calories. The feeling of hunger can also be due to the consumption of processed foods, life distractions (TV, phone, Video games,..) or the fact to eat irregularly.

Integrate the good foods in your diet

A lot of people are feeling hungry after eating because they didn’t eat the right foods. We suggest to include protein and fiber in every meal or snack in order to feel satiated.

Reduce sweet foods

Having a sweet meal such as carbs, will open your hunger. Always pair your carbs with protein or healthy fat.

Be aware that you are eating

Everybody has already experienced a TV-dinner time during which your entire meal has disappeared without realizing you ate it. And you are wondering: Why I am still hungry? This is due to the fact that your brain didn’t register that you ate a meal because you were too focused on that tv show. The same happens when you are eating at your desk in the office while working!

Focusing on what you eat and taking the time to eat slowly may help decrease the feeling of hunger after eating.

Avoid processed foods

In order to make you consume more, food companies add sugar, salt and/or fat in the foods so that it lets your body wanting for more.

 

The best documentaries about Health and Nutrition on Netflix

The best documentaries about Health and Nutrition on Netflix

Ok, we agree, the words “Netflix” and “Health” are difficult to combine when we know that watching TV is not exactly considered as a “healthy” activity. But what if you could use Netflix to reinforce your knowledge about nutrition and motivate you to adopt new healthy habits?

In the last decade, a number of documentaries have been created in order to reveal the naked truth about people’s diets. We have selected for you the best nutrition documentaries available on Netflix.

 

🔸Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead (2010)

An inspiring film that chronicles Joe’s personal mission to regain his health. Joe Cross weighted more than 136 kilos, ate like crap and suffered from a debilitating autoimmune disease. His doctors told him that he was at the end of his rope so that he decided to make drastic changes in his life. The drastic change? Stopping crap foods and drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juice during 60 days. By seeing his body transformation in real time, this documentary will make you aware of the huge role diet plays in health.

 

🔸Fed Up (2014)

By watching this eye-opening documentary, you will discover how the processed food industry looks like the tobacco industry. From tobacco to junk food, both businesses are designed to get people hooked. And when we spoke about junk food, this is particularly bad and dangerous for kids who have no knowledge of the concept to be able to say no.

 

🔸Food, Inc. (2008)

If you want to know where your food comes from, you should watch this documentary. Food, Inc exposes the terrifying secrets of the food industry (such as the unsanitary conditions of meat processing) through the investigation of Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan. From cruelty to unsustainable environmental practices, the disgusting truth is revealed. Why animals are pumped with chemical and hormones? What is sure, is that you will stop complaining about the expensive price of organic chicken after watching this film.

 

🔸What The Health (2017)

Another film that will reveal terrifying truths but this time the film discussed the correlation between food and disease and the dangers of processed meat. Why the number of people suffering from diabetes suddenly exploded in the last decade?  Discover how a plant-based diet can help prevent and even reverse health conditions!

 

🔸Forks Over Knives (2011)

This vegan-advocacy film emphasizes the importance of eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes rather than a diet based on animal products and processed foods. The idea of addiction to processed foods is also discussed. After watching it, you will probably integrate more vegetables into your diet!

 

🔸In Defense of Food (2015)

“In Defense of Food” is the adaptation to the screen from the book of the journalist Michael Pollan. The film discussed how processed and packaged foods have taken control of people because it is easy, convenient, cheap and delicious. Some of the packaged foods that are supposed to be healthy tend to contain a big amount of fat and sugar and people totally ignore it (example with the Yoplait yogurt). Michael Pollan also discovers that people get sick by eating processed foods because of the chemicals added in it.

 

🔸Food Choices (2016)

This documentary made a lot of noise and is available in 190 countries. 28 health professionals and experts have worked together to reveal the bad consequences behind the nice packaging and catchy slogans. Companies make people believe that their products are good for the health but in reality, most of them are misinformed about the ways to stay healthy. The filmmaker explained how his overall health improved by having a plant-based diet.

 

🔸Sustainable (2016)

A documentary that denounces the unsustainable practices of America’s food system: from raising animals for slaughter in packed to disease-ridden environments and food waste. It will make you think before buying a quick processed meal.

 

Why stress can cause weight gain

Why stress can cause weight gain

Nowadays, stress is becoming even more present in the society:  social networks, long working days, pressure at work, lack of physical activity are the main causes.  Indeed, stress is the cause of many health problems: depression, anxiety, asthma, heart diseases, diabetes, etc. But stress has also an impact on our hormone levels and weight gain.

Any source of stress, from physical to emotional will produce cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body. This hormone is necessary for our survival because it allows us to take a quick decision in order to get out of danger (alertness).

However, when we are under constant stress, our body produces too much cortisol which has an impact on our metabolism and emotional feelings, causing anxiety, insomnia, fertility problems, and weight gain.

Let’s see how stress can have a bad impact on your quality of life and can cause weight gain.

🔸Stress contributes to sleep disorders

Like we said before, Cortisol is the hormone responsible for the alertness so that it will keep you awake and make you pay more attention to your environment. If the cortisone levels are elevated throughout the day, it can generate difficulties to fall and stay asleep. The lack of sleep will affect the levels of hunger hormones, causing appetite and reducing the feeling of fullness which contributes to weight gain.

🔸Stress increases cravings

The cortisol affects your mood, sleep, and digestion so that it will directly contribute to sugar and carbohydrate cravings when you are feeling down or stressed. According to some researches, people with high cortisol levels are consuming more calories during the days with high stress.

Why? The stress decreases the levels of “happy hormones” so that we are looking for rewarding eating experiences which used to be high-calorie foods.

🔸Stress can affect your digestive system

Stress is one of the leading cause of digestive disorders such as diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, gas and intolerances. This is due to the fact that stress increases inflammations.

This is why you should eat a variety of high-fiber whole foods during stressful periods.

🔸Stress burns your energy and makes it difficult to stay active

Even if a healthy diet is important to lose some weight, doing some physical activity is essential. Stress increases inflammation and can weaken the immune system which can cause a lack of energy,  frequent illness, and soreness in your muscles.

🔸Stress can affect your mood

All the previous points above have an impact on brain activity and mood stabilization.

When we are stressed, we are more likely to follow old habits. Stress can block you at the start of a new project like exercising or improving the quality of life (you will be less motivated).

 

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