7 Strategies to Structure Your Day for Nutritional Success

 I am extremely grateful that we were able to secure Cliff Harvey to come down to Hamilton and present in the Taylored studio last week.

Cliff is someone I have followed and highly respected throughout my academic career. As a lot of his work is in academia not too many had much knowledge of him, even though no doubt you have come across some of his work or products at some point or another. From Cliffs books to his the products he has helped create like Nuzest, Cliff is a wealth of knowledge and was great to bring him in and provide a stage for him to share his knowledge.

With so many nuggets of information from Cliff’s talk, I thought I would collate his thoughts for those who attended and those who missed out. Especially as he did so well to keep it simple and actionable and at Taylored Health & Performance that is what we are all about.

Cliff, like us at Taylored, is all about performance. Performance to us does not necessarily mean athletic performance, it is all about getting individuals performing at their best whatever that is. It could be as simple as more energy to be able to spend more quality time with your kids, through to athletic endeavors. Regardless, these foundational strategies listed below should be a part of everyone’s daily routine.

In this post I will be discussing Cliff’s strategies for success, I will highlight how I personally implement them to give you an idea of methods for applying these essential strategies.

  1. Hydration

Dehydration has a profound effect on performance and is one of the quickest and easiest to fix, yet it is so commonly neglected. It can be easy to think our bodies shut down at night although this is not the case. sleep is the time where our bodies are working hard to recover from the day before as we store memories and doing vital tasks such as detoxifying your liver etc.

With as little as 2% water loss of body weight, this causes noticeable decreases in physical and mental performance. Losses of 5% or more during physical activity may decrease the capacity of roughly 30%. Additionally, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal problems have also been associated with losses greater than 2%. You would be doing well to achieve this kind of dehydration through sleep but it is still important to understand the gravity or importance of dehydration.

Application: This one is as simple as starting your day with water. Ideally don’t skull it, gradually sip on the glass and for added absorption and retention you can add a pinch of mineral-rich salt (Colima or Pink Himalayan).

Personally: I place a glass of water with a pinch mineral-rich salt to drink as I wake up, I will also often have a freshly squeezed lemon and apple cider vinegar with mineral-rich salt as a lukewarm tea, to prime the gut and promote digestion. Don’t boil the water as it has the potential to denature the apple cider vinegar

 

2. Mindfulness

Kickstart your day being present.

What is mindfulness? The act of detaching yourself from the past and the future and being truly present at the moment, the truth is you can not change the past nor can you impact the future without being present. Being mindful and present you will begin to enjoy the small things and not stress the big stuff, all of which will increase levels of gratitude and a better way of life.

Not only will you see a direct impact in your life overall, but also, those who practice mindfulness increased levels of diet compliance, with reductions in binge eating, emotional eating, and weight and fat-loss, most likely due to the impact on the ability to be present and make better decisions.

Application: Everyone has a couple of spare minutes per day, we are habitual creatures by nature so start small to build the habit, even if it is 1-2 min per day that is great! As you find more time you can gradually increase this and take it as far as you wish.

Personally: I do a minimum of 10 min per day, 5 min of which is first thing lying along my roller doing postural rest (in the sun if possible) listening to Headspaces guided practices (Normally: Early Mornings, or Waking Up session). The other 5 min I will fit into the day somewhere when I need, and on top this I often throw another 10 min in to help unwind and put myself to sleep (Headspace: Sleeping, knocks me out every time!)

Find what works for you

Important to note you don’t have to have a dedicated guided mindfulness practice like me it could be as simple as sitting and counting your breaths or going for a short mindful focused walk.

Examples:

Breathing: Place your hands on the stomach to feel rising and falling with breath then count 1 for lift 2 for fall 3 lift 4 fall for 5 cycles to 10 and then begin the cycle again. Aim to complete at least 5 cycles of this with the intention of detaching yourself from your surroundings and focusing in on just the rising and falling of your breath

Mindful Walking: An old Buddhist practice, it is a way to practice mindfulness while moving without a goal or intention. Mindful walking simply means walking while being aware of each step and of our breath. Keep your steps slow, relaxed, and calm. There is no rush, no place to be and most importantly no need to hurry.

 

3. Move

This is not necessarily a time for high-intensity training, instead, it is a time to get the body moving. Simple movements that can be replicated each and every morning. From mobility, yoga, walking or a light jog. This is a great chance to either continue your mindfulness practice or if pushed for time combine the two together.

I completely agree with Cliff that this is a time for gentle movement, especially if you are about to head to a desk and sit down all day. First of all, it will put yourself in a stressed state (fight or flight), plus you are quite possibly fatiguing key postural muscles leading to poor posture throughout the day while you are at your desk, this eventually resulting in imbalances and injury, if not addressed.

Obviously, movement is something at Taylored Health we are especially passionate about and the sad truth is our twenty-first century lifestyles are having a significant impact on our bodies and the way we now move. As we spend too much time sitting and spending all our lives using our anterior chain (front of our body) and not our posterior chain (back of our body). We are seeing more and more anterior dominance such as anterior pelvic tilts (pelvis tilting forwards) and kyphotic postures (rounding of the shoulders). If you are not completing imbalance correction work for undoing this, you are setting yourself up for future injuries.

At Taylored we take a hierarchy approach to programming, we don’t believe in extensive 1-1.5hr long session every day. We understand the biggest commodity is time so we are all about efficiency, providing our clients with a 3 or 4 short but key exercises that will promote the greatest response for them, these will normally be completed within 5-10 mins a day. Following the key priority exercises, we provide secondary and additional focuses beyond these that can be done when your schedule allows.

Application: Similar to mindfulness, work with the time you have then gradually increase where possible but I would suggest aiming for 5-10 mins each morning of gentle movement.

Personally: I aim to get outside (Sun Vit D= Resetting circadian rhythm) for a light walk and mobility. However, not always possible especially in winter so stick to mobility inside but I always do my best to get outside because the sun is even more important in winter.

 

4. Don’t Snack

Contrary to the beliefs of most nutritionist advice, out with the intensive 6 meals per day plan of forcing food down when you are not hungry “to maintain a fast metabolism”. Instead, come to in tune with your bodies needs and eat when hungry not because it is a habit or you think or have been told that you should eat frequently. You need to become mindful of your body and what it is telling you.

Humans have functioned and evolved within feast and famine environment for the majority of our existence. It is how our bodies are used to functioning. Just because technology now allows us to regularly graze, binge and overeat at the click of a button doesn’t mean we should! Frequent eating just places greater demand on our digestive system to consistently digest food instead of completing a restorative process that aid in overall health and longevity.

Application: Simple! Ditch the snacks and instead focus on quality nutritional dense meals that will nourish your body with the nutrients and fuel they require.

1-3 Meals should be plenty for the majority of the population

Personally: I apply time restricting eating most days, something before ditching carbohydrate that would have never been possible for me as I was always hungry!

I normally fast from 7pm-11am ish. However, this window varies greatly as I listen to my body and just eat when hungry. Too many people get fixated on hitting the magical 16hr mark but we need to keep in mind everyone is different and our bodies don’t function as a switch. My fasted windows are sometimes shorter and longer, they personally range between 14-18 hrs per day for me.

My breakfast is normally around the time most are having lunch (11am), and for most people, they would get away with just one other meal at dinner around 6pm, I sometimes eat like this when not training. However, I personally still have 3 meals roughly around 11am, 3pm and 6pm. Why? As an Ironman athlete, I burn through a lot more energy than the general population. Just another example that there is no one size fits all approach, it will depend on your needs

 

6. Protein First

Why protein?

Protein is structure – it is the building blocks of the human body, plus it is the most satiating nutrient, keeping you full and satisfied for longer.

The great thing about the majority of quality protein sources, you will often find good fats, and plenty of micronutrients, making it a great base to build meals off.

Application:

2x Palms sized servings of protein every meal

Ensure the protein source is unprocessed and is as close to nature as possible to ensure it has not had all the nutrients stripped out from being processed and refined.

Personally:

Protein is especially important for me as an athlete to aid my recovery from my training and for building muscle so I ensure I include a wide variety of good quality protein sources.  

 

6. Vegetable’s second

Many people think leading high-fat lifestyle means vegetables are not important because there are carbohydrate based. However, due to the fiber associated they do not possess the same as most carbohydrates and the fact that they are action packed with micronutrients outweighs the minimal carbohydrate they possess any way.

Application:

3x fist size of vegetables

Strive for organic, home grown vegetables

Aim for a diverse vibrant range of vegetables on your plate. Produce rich in Antioxidant content have been associated with with the more vibrant coloured produce (blues, purples, reds) along with being proven to taste better. This is why your vegetable garden tastes 100x better than supermarket produce, they are not mass produced in nutrient deficient soils, plus they have no added substances to preserve the fruit.

Personally:

Every meal I have you will just about always see it combined with a large amount of dark leafy greens (spinach, kale etc) whether on a plate or in a smoothie. Packed full of nutrients and more recently have been identified to promote with gut health. Especially important for me as I have dealt with a Candida in the past. On top of this, as mentioned above, I try to vary the colours up and eat from my parents vegetable garden the majority of the time. I have tried making my own vegetable garden but that didn’t go to well so I outsourced to my dad who loves it.

 

7. Carbohydrate: Appropriate to your needs

Eat carbohydrate appropriate to your individuals needs.

Carbohydrate intake needs will be greatly varied from person to person. Some will possess the ability to breakdown and utilise carbohydrate better than others and also activity levels along with exercise intensity can impact the amount of carbohydrate one can consume. On top of these factors your goals can also determine the amount of carbohydrate you should consume.

Cliff is currently working on a study getting released in the next few months which has come up with an interesting discovering that your triglycerides may play a vital role in how much carbohydrate you tolerate and require to function optimally. By lowering your Triglycerides (fatty acids) you are more likely to be able to handle a higher amount of carbohydrate.

Application:

As mentioned above this will be extremely individual but something I would suggest limiting where possible or at least aim to remove the processed and refined carbohydrates (biscuits, pasta, bread, cereals etc).

Personally:

I limit my carbohydrates as much as possible.

Do I have any carbohydrates? Yes, I do but mostly in the evening.

Why?

I am all about performance, both mentally and physically, I want to stay sharp with mental clarity with focus and a steady flow of energy and I personally find the spikes and crashes associated with carbohydrate do not promote this state. This is why I stay clear of carbohydrate until the evening where I can refuel and replenish carbohydrate stores if I feel I need it. The amount of carbohydrate, if any, is dependant on how I feel and the needs from the day and of the coming day(have I had a big training day or do I have a big one coming up). I still stay clear of processed and refined carbohydrates and normally select something like kumara.

On top of this, I take it a step further as an athlete, as I have trained my body to be fat adapted (Metabolically flexible). This involves a fair bit of fasted training sessions, to further deplete carbohydrates stored and to teach my body to utilise fat as the primary fuel source, offering me the ability to train longer compared to most without the need for regular refueling and the gastrointestinal stress that is often associated with this.

 

References:

Jeukendrup, Asker, and Michael Gleeson. “Dehydration and Its Effects on Performance.” Humankinetics. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2015.

Katterman SN, Kleinman BM, Hood MM, Nackers LM, Corsica JA. Mindfulness meditation as an intervention for binge eating, emotional eating, and weight loss: A systematic review. Eating behaviors. 2014 Apr 1;15(2):197-204.

Olson KL, Emery CF. Mindfulness and weight loss: a systematic review. Psychosomatic medicine. 2015 Jan 1;77(1):59-67.

Shirreffs, S. M., & Sawka, M. N. (2011). Fluid and electrolyte needs for training, competition, and recovery. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29 Suppl 1, S39-46. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2011.614269

 

Time Restricted Eating: What you need to know

In one of my previous article (Let’s talk Science: High Carbohydrate Vs High Fat), I  talked about starting your day with a high fat meal (eg avocado and eggs, fat smoothie etc) vs the traditional approach of refined high carbohydrate breakfast (Eg. toasted muesli, cereal and toast). But why stop there! The benefits achieved  by this can be taken one step further by not eating at all and extending your overnight fasted period.

 

“Break” + “Fast” = Breakfast

Whether you like it or not you fast every night, while you are asleep. Therefore, the term “breakfast” is defined by breaking the overnight fast. Breakfast is known as one of the most important meals of the day. I will not debate this because I believe this to be true as it will set you up for your day. However the time when we consume it does not necessarily need to be first thing in the morning.

Isn’t skipping breakfast bad for you? What are the benefits of fasting? Is there any science behind this? Is it dangerous? These are all the questions that people will often ask as soon as you hear the word ‘fasting’

 

Do I fast?

Yes, in fact most days I fast from 14-18 hrs (7pm-11am ish). It is one of the most liberating things I have ever done and has allowed me to free up my mornings. My mornings are now more productive than ever before, I have a clear mind and do not waste time,  instead I can jump straight into the task at hand.

Why would I suggest people try fasting?

If you are interested health, longevity and sporting performance fasting is something that you should consider.

Let’s take a look at the research

Although intermittent fasting is a relatively new area of science fasting is ingrained to our history and is a component of almost every religion. It is only recently that we have been able to gain a deeper understanding of the physiological mechanisms at play and therefore identifying the positive benefits associated with intermittent / prolonged fasting/ time restricted eating as a powerful longevity enhancing strategy.

 

Animals Studies (9-12 hr eating window)

The majority has been performed in animal studies which have shown increased muscle mass, fat loss, glucose tolerance, improved lipid profiles, decreased inflammation, increase mitochondrial volume, protection against mild age fatty liver, protection against obesity, gene expression, increase production in ketone bodies. This list alone should be enough to highlight the amazing potential of fasting. But while this does appear in animal studies, will we see the same benefits in humans?

 

Humans Studies:

This is a growing body of literature and is still in its infancy in terms of research. Intermittent fasting/ time restricted eating (11 hr eating window) has been shown to decrease breast cancer risk (36%). It has also been shown to increase fat loss in overweight and obese people and interestingly for each 3 hr increase in time of the  overnight fast duration there was a 20% fall in HbA1c (long term marker of blood glucose levels and an indicator of normal, pre-diabetic and diabetic status).

Human Eating in 12 hr window:

Even with a more lenient fasting/ eating window of time, research has shown a number of significant benefits such as: improved sleep, weight loss, and decrease in inflammation.

 

HFLC vs Fasting

In previous post we have discussed the positive attributes associated with a high fat diet such as increased insulin sensitivity and reduction in inflammation. All of these benefits are seen with fasting and in most cases are substantially greater along with a few other added benefits that you are unable to achieve from a HFLC diet alone.

Fasting compared with HFLC, especially prolonged fasting,  presents a dramatic increase in autophagy and apoptosis followed by a massive increase in stem cell production. Autophagy is a genetic program which clears always damaged protein/s and organelles within the cell (think of it as cell ‘house cleaning’) while apoptosis is a process where damaged cells self destruct and break down, a controlled process that is part of any organisms growth or development.. Essentially the two process work to prevent the accumulation of senescent cells (old cells) within the body. The body is dynamic and is constantly turning over cells, manufacturing new ones or clearing damaged organelles within cells and in doing so this helps to maintain the health and functioning of the body (for the science nerd, it maintain homeostasis). The prevention of senescent cells accumulation can assist in reducing tumor growth. Increase in autophagy and apoptosis have been linked to longevity, with research in mice demonstrating that when these two processes are increased the life span can increase by ~20%.

Fasting also appears to impact the stem cell number and production. It is stem cells regenerative nature that helps in mitigating the effects of aging.

One of the biggest difference in comparing fasting to a HFLC diet is mitophagy.  Mitophagy is a process which clears damaged mitochondria (the cell power houses, where we generate our bodies energy source) and recycles their defective components which is followed by generation of new mitochondria through process of mitochondrial biogenesis. Once again this minimises the effects of ageing. HFLC has been shown to modestly increase mitochondrial biogenesis but not as much as mitophagy. Therefore to gain full benefit of mitophagy you would want to look at including fasted windows.

NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) increases in a fasted state and decreases in a feed state. NAD is an essential component for a wide range of enzymes to function properly. Your mitochondria need NAD for energy production from glucose or fatty acids and any time there is damage occurring in the body it sucks up NAD causing the mitochondria to suffer. Therefore the act of fasting offers the ability to up-regulate NAD in the absence of fuel.

Additionally, fasting promotes repair of DNA along with improved blood sugar regulation, insulin sensitivity, blood lipid profile and inflammatory markers (CRP, TNF alpha)

 

Application

There are varying opinions on what consists as a fast. Some are of the opinion, like Rhonda Patrick who follows the strictests of definitions. She states that consuming anything other water constitutes as ‘breaking the fast’. Others, define a fast as the window void of any calories and that you can have black coffee etc to help extend the fast.

Which definition you select to comply with will greatly depend on your life circumstances and the goals and benefits you are wanting to achieve.

With results being shown in human with even a 12 h fast window, it all comes down to designing a method that suits your lifestyle. The classic and most renowned intermittent fasting/time restricted eating method is the 16/8 (16 hour fast & 8 hour eating window). Grant Schofield, Caryn Zinn, & Craig Rodger from New Zealand recently released their new book following on from “What the Fat” This time focusing on fasting with “What the Fast”. I was lucky enough to be at their book release, this is a great resource packed full of evidence based practice for anyone looking for some guidance and with an alternative approach to intermittent fasting. In their approach they provide a great lifestyle approach to fasting which allows you to maximise your benefits without impacting and restricting

you. Their approach involves a monday tuesday full day fast with a very low carb/ fasting mimicking meal on monday and tuesday night. The rest of the week they encourage you to eat LCHF and on the weekends relax and prepare for the monday/tuesday fast. Their book is full of great recipes and if you are interested in fasting this is a great resource to get started!

When it comes to fasting I believe you need to view it as another tool and I don’t believe that you should be too strict on applying it. I find when most people begin especially your A-Type personalities they go all in and start pushing the limits far beyond what is needed and end up in a catabolic state. Instead my advice would be to listen to your body and when it wants fuel have fuel and as you train your body over time to become fat adapted and break free from your eating habits you will begin to thrive off your fasted windows. It is important to understand your fasted windows should not be tough! You should not be hungry, if you are then EAT! I am also not saying you should restrict your food intake during your eating window, this is not a starvation diet. During your eating windows, nourish your body with good wholesome food and enough to meet your energy and or training demands.

 

My approach:

I personally follow the less strict definition as most people tend to do and will have black coffee in a fasted state and often will even break this rule and add some MCT oil (Not true fast) to extend my fast or help assist with a fat adapting training session (I will discuss the in great detail in future posts)

 

Eating Window Consideration:

Circadian Impact (metabolism changes throughout the day)

Just like our bodies responds to light, our metabolism functions on a 24 hr cycle and changes throughout the day. Timing of food consumption can have altered effects on your body. For example, it has been shown that there is a greater postprandial (following meal) glucose response at dinner compared to breakfast. This is due to humans being dayianal creatures (function during the day). Therefore eating late at night will have a greater impact on our health. For each 10% increase in calories consumed after 5 pm was linked to a 3% increase in the inflammatory biomarker CRP.

 

Summary:

Reduction in systemic inflammation is thought to be one of the greatest predictors of health and longevity. Reduced inflammation is linked to improvements in age, prevention of cancer and mental health issues. Therefore a strategy like fasting or time restricted eating or anything that greatly impacts systemic inflammation is a positive and should be considered.

View fasting as a tool to add to the toolbox that can enhance your health and longevity, don’t get caught up and or get too strict.  Listen to your body and remember shifting to utilise fat for fuel takes time so don’t rush the change.

 

References:

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Chaix, A., Zarrinpar, A., Miu, P., & Panda, S. (2014). Time-restricted feeding is a preventative and therapeutic intervention against diverse nutritional challenges. Cell Metabolism, 20(6), 991–1005. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2014.11.001

Choi, I. Y., Childress, P., Brandhorst, S., Navarre, G., & D. Longo, V. (2015). Periodic Fasting Mimicking Diet reverses age-dependent decline in neurogenesis and enhances cognitive performance.

Cohen, L. J. (2018). Fasting the microbiome to treat diabetes. Science Translational Medicine, 10(441). Retrieved from http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/10/441/eaat8529.abstract

Gabel, K., Hoddy, K. K., Haggerty, N., Song, J., Kroeger, C. M., Trepanowski, J. F., … Varady, K. A. (2018). Effects of 8-hour time restricted feeding on body weight and metabolic disease risk factors in obese adults: A pilot study. Nutrition and Healthy Aging, 4(4), 345–353. https://doi.org/10.3233/NHA-170036

Gill, S., Le, H. D., Melkani, G. C., & Panda, S. (2015). Time-restricted feeding attenuates age-related cardiac decline in Drosophila. Science (New York, N.Y.), 347(6227), 1265–1269. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1256682

Gillette, M. U., & Tischkau, S. A. (1999). Suprachiasmatic nucleus: the brain’s circadian clock. Recent Progress in Hormone Research. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10548871

Hatori, M., & Panda, S. (2015). Response of peripheral rhythms to the timing of food intake. Methods in Enzymology, 552, 145–161. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.mie.2014.10.027

Hatori, M., Vollmers, C., Zarrinpar, A., DiTacchio, L., Bushong, E. A., Gill, S., … Panda, S. (2012). Time-restricted feeding without reducing caloric intake prevents metabolic diseases in mice fed a high-fat diet. Cell Metabolism, 15(6), 848–860. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2012.04.019

Hine, C., & Mitchell, J. R. (2014). Saying no to drugs: Fasting protects hematopoietic stem cells from chemotherapy and aging. Cell Stem Cell, 14(6), 704–705. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2014.05.016

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Client Stories 2017

What an amazing year it has been! Upgrading to a new bigger and better studio, media exposure (front page of the Waikato times and a number of other publications), finishing postgraduate studies, meeting and working with some amazing people and overcoming my personal struggles (flexibility disorder and not being able to run for 3yrs) and chasing my triathlon dreams.

My why is to champion and help others to push their limits and achieve beyond what they thought possible. As the year comes to an end, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate a few of my clients successes from this year.

At Taylored Health & Performance we work with anyone looking to get more out of life and perform at their best whether that is in sport, work or just everyday life. This year I have helped  many of my clients from all walks of life, from those who have exhausted all options with no success to high performers looking to gain a competitive edge in their life, sport or work.


Client Stories

Overwhelmed to Success 

Dan found himself in a vicious cycle with his new high demanding corporate position. Sapped of his normal energy, weight gain, lack of time, and injured with a knee that he was told he will never be able to run on again. Dan knew a change was required and seeked my assistance to gain his life back and be able to do the things he loves. With a number of key focus areas our aim was to find a balance, taking the less is more approach we designed specific strategies for each area of life to ensure his success. Dan couldn’t believe the impact across the board; with the extra energy he could now find the time to surf (a big love of his), spend more time with his family, and he even got further promotions at work. Not only this he was able to run again and achieved his desired body composition. It is fair to say he was pretty stoked with life again.

“I have been working with Luke for 12 weeks. I am so  stoked with the results. Luke has helped me overcome some long standing injuries “knees and heel’s which until recently had held me back. Luke has improved my posture and mobility, we have done this in a fun and non-stressful way. I have learnt a lot about my body and what I need to do keep healthy including my mind. My body fat has reduced by 10% through a totally sustainable regime. My surfing has improved and I have more energy and confidence in my body generally. I would thoroughly recommend Taylored Health & Performance  to anyone looking to improve their health and performance. Luke is a really cool guy to work with and will find a way to customise an improvement program specific to your needs”

From Potential Surgery to Pain Free

Unable to stand without being in pain Debbie with severe back pain had exhausted all options with no success and was told she required back surgery. After getting varied opinions from specialists she was lost and confused unsure what to do and just knew she wanted to try everything before surgery. This lead her to me, in the pre-screen I quickly identified it was not as doomed as she has been told. Within 4 weeks we had her pain free with normal everyday movement, by 12 weeks we had her back into xome pain free exercise, which she had not been able to do for so long. There is no better feeling than removing pain from someone’s life.

“After visiting Luke,I found I had so much more movement and less pain. I’ve also learnt that posture was a big part of my problem and I have to constantly make sure I watch this.Luke helped a lot with this also.”  -Debbie

 

Chasing “Free Speed”

I will never forget after working with Megan, her racing into our session with even more excitement than normal. She was over the moon she had  just got her result from her most recent FTP (Functional Threshold Power) test. Not only did she see a massive increase in her power output but for the first time she was producing symmetrical power through each leg where she was previously producing 4% less power of he left leg compared to her right. This may not sound like much but when you are an athlete who competes at a high  level Ironman athlete like Megan this is massive! As Megan likes to refer to her training with me “it is Free Speed”.

“My first session with Luke was a reality check for me, i was overloading muscles that would have eventually resulted in injury.  Since seeing Luke i have glutes that work & hips that are free & am balanced.  Luke taught me how to do the exercises property & explained the reason for them.  I can now do these at home to ensure my body is ready for training & racing.  Thanks Luke” – Megan

 

Perspective Shift Resulting in Massive Transformation

I have worked with Marcia for a little while now and what a transformation! She is a different person! With a perspective shift and a massive reduction in weight to match she couldn’t be happier. Marcia has become a teacher like many of my clients, passing on the knowledge she has learnt and helping others along their journeys.  Marcia has not had an easy run, she was another who was on a last resort with very little belief left that anything could be done.  With a history of severe gut issues, depression and adrenal fatigue along with a unrecovered hip surgery. Marcia’s persistence and commitment to her journey has been truly inspirational.

“Since finding Luke, I’ve been steered in the right direction to improve my physical health, nervous system, ability to rest and recover, as well as increasing my understanding of mobility, biomechanics and functional movement. It’s been a challenging but rewarding journey, ignited and kept alive by Luke’s unwavering support and encouragement.” -Marcia

 

From Postie to top level Triathlete

I have now worked with Malcolm for over 2 years and it has been a pleasure working with him along his journey as he chases his dream of being one of NZ top Triathletes. This dream is now coming into fruition after he took out the Olympic Distance National Championship title earlier this year along with a number of other massive results both locally and internationally.

“I highly value the mobility sessions I do with Luke on a weekly basis, especially during my big training blocks, before and after races. These are one of the keys to my success as a triathlete and one of the ways I manage to maintain staying injury free.” – Malcolm


 

“THANK YOU to all my clients you truly inspire me, helping you succeed is the reason I love what I do, I can not wait to see what 2018 will hold” -Luke


 

 

Tricks & Tips for the Holiday Season

The silly season is among us! With the extra time it is the perfect opportunity to take the time to focus on your health and wellbeing.

Lets not sweat the small stuff, indulge a little and relax – you all have earned it! Enjoy.

The holiday period also presents as a great opportunity capitalise on extra free time to develop key positive habits that can help set you up for an awesome 2018. Here is some key tip we suggest you consider.

 

1. Remove Toxins & Stimulants

The holiday season is a great opportunity to clear out all the unneeded toxins and stimulants from your life.

  • Plastic

Reduce your use of plastics as much as possible. The plastic leaches chemicals like pcb’s dioxins which are xeno-estrogenic and mimic estrogen in your body. This creates an estrogen dominance which develops an insulin resistance, making it extremely difficult to regulate and reduce fat.

Remove Plastic:

  • Ditch the plastic drink bottles: Replace with a metal bottle
  • Rethink Tupperware: The last thing you want to do is put hot food into a plastic container (or worse – to reheat it!). Replace with glass or bamboo.
  • Plastic Straws: Replace with metal or bamboo

 

  • Coffee (Caffeine)

Coffee is the greatest source of Polyphenols (Antioxidants) in the western diet! It is also well known that us Kiwis love our coffee per capita consumption ranks among top 20 in the world, according to statistics portal, Statista.com.

Can there be too much of a good thing? If you have become reliant on it and can’t survive a day without it. It is time for a detox! With no deadlines or time constraints with work this is the perfect time for a detox! Remove caffeine from your life for 2 weeks to allow your body to reset.

Removing the stimulant for two weeks is extremely powerful as when reintroduced, you will once again notice the stimulant effects again, that have most likely been stunted due to overuse.

Quick note: If you currently exceed 3 coffees a day I wouldn’t suggest going cold turkey unless you are that way inclined. Gradually cut down!

https://tayloredhealth.co.nz/optimise-your-coffee-break/

  • Blue Light

Light is a nutrient that plays a significant role in signaling your mitochondria (celular powerhouses) to do things and when to do them. Different light frequencies trigger different signals in your cells. Blue light which mostly comes from LED lights places the body under a significant amount of stress.

Newer artificial light bulbs lack many of the sun’s frequencies that our bodies and brains need. Artificial lights, have eliminated most of the infrared, red, and violet light found in natural sunlight, and are amplifying the blue light beyond anything we have evolved to handle. Most LEDs and compact fluorescents emit about 5 times the blue light we’re used to.

Where to start:

Reduce blue light or what is now known as Junk light. Download a bluelight filter app like F.LUX for digital devices (Mobile & laptop) and switch all the lights in your house to halogen and incandescent. They aren’t perfect, but they’re better. Your white LEDs might be saving your power bill but they are sapping your personal energy levels!

 

2. Hydrate

Too often we forget the simple things like hydration. Yet, hydration levels are one of the most important things to regulate.  Water contributes to the maintenance of normal physical functioning, cognitive functioning and thermoregulation. Our body are made up of 60% water, so it is important that you achieve optimal water levels as it is essential for feeling good with optimal health and energy. With 1% of dehydration affects performance by up to 10%!

How much water should I drink?

0.033 litres per kg of body weight, which roughly equates to the following amounts:

  • 60 kg = 2 litres
  • 75 kg = 2.5 litres
  • 90 kg= 3 litres

Hydration Tips:

  • Carry a metal drink bottle with you everywhere.
  • Download Hydration app, to remind you to drink

 

3. Mindfulness

Slow Down: Too often while on holiday I see people stuck in the busy mode unable to slow down. On a mission racing around from place to place and not taking the time to relax and enjoy the present moment. It is easy to get stuck in old patterns but we need to be able to detach ourselves from these habits. I have caught myself in this very situation myself many times. This where it is great to include a mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness Definition: A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Mindfulness is all about detaching yourself from the past and the future and focusing on the present moment, as it is only the present moment that you can impact. The holiday period presents as a great opportunity to increase or introduce a mindfulness practice.

Where to start?

  • Download an amazing app like Headspace, that will help guide your mindfulness practice. The great thing about Headspace is its flexible nature, that allows you to design a practice around your needs such a length of session and specific focus points.
  • Walk slowly, sounds simple but can be especially tough for busy people to do.
  • Sit down and enjoy scenery eg. beach, park.

https://tayloredhealth.co.nz/just-breathe/

 

4. Look after your Gut!

Our gut is now known as our second brain so it makes sense to look after it! Did you no 90% of your serotonin (feel good hormone) is created in your gut. That means poor gut health can lead to depression.

A great way to start your day is with a lemon juice/apple cider vinegar to help stimulate digestion through stomach acid and bile production.

  • 1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (it has to be raw, unfiltered, with the mother)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt (antioxidant/electrolyte)
  • 1 Cup of warm water (Make it as a tea)

Aim to drink 30mins prior to breakfast for best results.

Why not throw in some bitter and fermented foods to aid digestive support this summer too.

Popular recommendations include:


 

Bitter:

  • Turmeric, (turmeric lattes)
  • Cacao
  • Ginger
  • Good quality Organic sourced dark chocolate
  • Leafy greens like Spinach and Kale.

 

 

Fermented:

  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Natto
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles

 

 

5. Gratitude

The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. By taking the time to notice and reflect on what you are thankful for, you experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.

A great way to cultivate this practice is a Gratitude Journaling. Journaling works as it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. Shifting our focus away from the negatives and onto the positives. Journaling can be as simple as writing 3 things  you are grateful each day.

6. Fear Setting

With the new year brings new year’s resolutions. University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. Let’s not fall into this trap! This year instead of new year’s resolutions replace them with ‘Fear Setting’ (An exercise recently popularized by Tim Ferriss)

Fear setting is all about embracing your fears! A simple process in which you write down and quantify your fears. What is the worst-case scenario? (often it is not as bad as you think). Once identified work back from that scenario, how can you mitigate these the consequences and then how could you recover from this scenario. You will be surprised how powerful this technique can be.

Follow these 3 steps to fear-setting:

Do an 80/20 analysis:

  • “Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?”
  • “Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?”
  • “Which 20% of sources are consuming 80% of my time?”

Write a to-do and not-to-do list:

  • “Why haven’t I done my most important to-do?”
  • “Why haven’t I stopped doing my most important not-to-do?”

Define your fears clearly (Once identified ask yourself this series of questions):

  • What is the worst-case scenario if I did what I’m considering?
  • What are all the things I could do to minimize that from happening?
  • If the worst-case scenario happened, what steps could I take to minimise repair the damage

https://tayloredhealth.co.nz/fear-setting/

 

Wherever you may be this summer, ensure it is a safe and happy one.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the team at Taylored Health & Performance

 

 

Hormone effects on weight loss- Leptin and Insulin

A calorie is a calorie, right? Therefore, if you have a balance between your Calories Intake and Calories Expenditure you should remain the same weight, right?

NO!

This rudimentary science is outdated and has been drilled into us for too long! I admit I was fooled for a while. What a lot of people and physicians neglect to account for is the endocrine system (Hormone system) chronic response with regards obesity.

 

Leptin and Insulin two foremost important hormones when it comes to obesity.

Leptin: Is secreted by the fat cells. It sends a signal to the brain that we have enough energy stored and that we don’t need to eat.

Insulin: Is the hormone that tells our cells to pick up glucose from the bloodstream. It is also the major energy storage hormone in the body. It tells our cells to store energy, either as glycogen or fat.

Although obese people have a lot of body fat and a lot of leptin in their bloodstream. The brain doesn’t “see” the leptin. It doesn’t see that we have enough fat stored and therefore thinks that we’re starving. This is known as leptin resistance and is believed to be a leading driver of obesity. What happens when you are starving? you eat! This creates that vicious cycle that ultimately leads to obesity.

It is believed that Insulin blocks the signals that leptin send to the brain. Therefore, if you have high levels of insulin and your brain never gets the signal that you are full, leaving you in a state of starvation and as a result continue to eat.

 

High insulin > No leptin signal > The brain doesn’t “know” that we have plenty of energy stored and thinks we’re starving, making us eat.

 

How do I lower my Insulin & combat weight gain?

I don’t want to demonise insulin, it is important to understand insulin is vital for our survival it is only when it is evaluated chronically it becomes an issue.

The easiest way to lower your insulin is through your diet. The main stimulus for insulin secretion is dietary carbohydrate. Especially fructose which is now added it to most the processed foods we eat today. I am not talking about fruit but added sugars in processed foods.

It is widely accepted that a low carbohydrate diet is the best way to combat chronic high insulin levels.