Learn how to amplify your daily hydration and feel more energetic!
Staying hydrated is one of the keys to a healthy lifestyle, from keeping a strong immune system to gut health and anti-ageing benefits. Drinking plenty of water helps with staying alert, preventing headaches, maintaining clear skin and preventing fatigue, especially when training regularly.
We've all heard that drinking (at least) eight glasses of water a day is the recommended amount for keeping healthy, but for some people that number can seem like a lot, or the amount quite vague.
There are a few ways to increase your water intake or capitalise on the amount you're already drinking. Use the advice below to make sure you're hydrated at all times so that you can perform at your best!
Add Fresh Ingredients
A great way to entice yourself to drink more water is to add fresh ingredients to it, to not only liven up the taste but to add beneficial nutrients as well!
Many people distain the plain taste of water and find it boring or difficult to drink a lot. Slices of lemon, mint leaves or cucumber can be the added zing you need to feel exited about taking your water bottle with you everywhere.
A few slices of lemon or squeezing the juice of a lemon into you water bottle can definitely turn your water up a level, adding a zesty taste that makes it seem even more refreshing. Lemon juice also contains antioxidants that can help cells repair from damage and is a great way to get a little extra Vitamin C in to you diet along with assisting immunity and metabolic health.
Mint leaves may seem a little fancy for every day drinking sure, we're used to seeing them in $16 cocktails! But they do have a bunch of cool benefits and a little plant can be bought cheaply from the supermarket and added to a tiny herb garden no sweat. Adding a few mint leaves will give a super fresh taste to your water, but they also have great anti-inflammatory properties (which can improve gum and teeth health) and are known to be antibacterial.
Cucumber is another great, fresh addition you can easily find in the produce section to boost your daily hydration. Like the other ingredients mentioned, cucumber slices can add a nice new taste to your water to make it much less boring as well as having health benefits. Cumbers contain cool antioxidants like Beta Carotene, Manganese and Vitamin C that help with a bunch of things! Cucumber water is also know as being great for detoxifying your body thanks to its Vitamin K levels and Potassium.
Adding any of these ingredients to a glass of water or water bottle everyday is a great way to kickstart and capitalise on hydration. A great trick is to add all 3 (lemon, mint, cucumber) to a pitcher or jug of water and let the flavours and benefits infuse over night before consuming. Having a large jug of this on the fridge also saves slicing, picking and infusing time which is great too!
Try A Hydration Supplement!
If you're struggling to get enough glasses of water in a day, you're not alone! Many people have jobs or lifestyles where it's hard to even remember to drink or get access to water throughout the day. If that's the case for you, adding a hydrating supplement to your diet may help you feel hydrated faster and hold on to the benefits of your fluids while trying your best to get enough consumed.
When we work out hard, we tend to sweat out many of our vital minerals and antioxidants. It can be hard to replace these on the go or quickly post workout. Using a supplement such as the Nuun Hyrdration Tabs or Pure Electrolyte Hydration Sachets is a super easy way to replenish those electrolytes and optimise hydration.
There are a bunch of great hydration supplement choices on the Sportsfuel website that contain a mixture of ingredients to help with everything from reducing cramps to improving energy output and endurance!
Eat Water - Rich Foods
A great sneaky way to increase the amount of H20 you're consuming every day is to eat it! That may sound strange, but the concept is simple; eat foods that have high water content. As we've mentioned, hydration is very important and every little bit counts, so eating your way to a fresh and healthy life is a key part of the equation too.
Make sure that your shopping list is full of things like Watermelon (92% water), Cucumber (96% water) and Grapefruit (91% water). You can also add these things to dinner recipes to really reap the rewards, such as substituting pasta with Cucumber noodles and adding Grapefruit to salads on the side of grilled proteins.
12 WAYS TO COMBAT STRESS, SLEEP BETTER & FEEL AMAZING EVERYDAY
Stress affects us all. Some days it's worse than others, and over time, it takes its toll on how we look, feel and perform.
Over 90% of adults say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and 74% say it's so great they feel unable to cope1. Add to this physical stress of training, injury, infection, or environmental toxins. Even certain foods can create stress on our bodily systems.
Some acute stress is helpful. However, chronic stress can be very harmful - even deadly!!
Here are ten things stress can cause and 12 ways to effectively combat stress:
Reduced Thyroid Function
Lowered Sex Drive
Irritability & Loss of Empathy
How do we fix this?
Exercise is more effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression than the top 5 antidepressant medications 2.
It might sound counterintuitive, but regular acute physical stress can significantly combat chronic mental stress. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety and depression3.
Exercise releases endorphins and gives you confidence which may help reduce your stress. During or immediately after training, be sure to use essential amino acids like AMINO SWITCH™ to accelerate recovery. AMINO SWITCH™ also contains the adaptogen Schisandra, which has been shown to increase energy and reduce stress.
You've probably heard the term 'LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE. Well, when it comes to stress, that is entirely true.
When you have fun and laugh, it's hard to feel stressed. Laughing has a natural lowering effect on cortisol (stress hormones) and increases serotonin (happy hormone). It also activates the Vagus nerve, which helps transport the serotonin from your gut to your brain.
One study showed laughing could help healing by activating the immune system, which could further reduce the effects of physical and emotional stress4. When we are stressed, it lowers our immunity which can result in increased inflammation and reduced recovery.
Try watching comedies or hanging out with people who make you laugh and enjoy life. Once you start, it can become infectious. 😊
Like laughter, singing also boosts serotonin and activates the Vagus nerve. This has a relaxing effect and has been shown to reduce tension, stress, and anxiety.
In one study, the music you enjoyed, because it brought back happy nostalgic memories, was the most effective at reducing stress markers.
So next time you're in the car on your way to or from work, belt out a tune you love at the top of your voice and watch your stress levels drop.
4) SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS:
People who live the longest, healthiest lives have two things in common: Purpose and community. Supporting friends and hanging out with friends and family can be stress-reducing.
One study showed men and women with the least social connections had the most significant levels of anxiety and depression.
However, pick your friends carefully and hang around people who support your goals and are genuinely fun to be around.
Many natural ingredients can reduce stress. Here is a list of the top 7 and the supplements you can find them in -
· Magnesium – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & ALPHA SWITCH™
This super important mineral is involved in over 600 bodily processes per day. It is critical for energy metabolism, nervous system relaxation, muscle recovery, energy, and so much more.
Nearly 75% of the population is not getting enough magnesium for their daily needs. Simply supplementing with magnesium citrate after exercise or before bed will profoundly benefit your recovery and lower your cortisol (stress).
· Ashwagandha – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & ALPHA SWITCH™
Known as the king of herbs. This Ayurvedic medicinal root has been used for centuries to help combat fatigue, reduce stress, and support energy. It is an adaptogen class of compounds that aid our mind and body adapt to stress.
Ashwagandha contains a natural compound called Withanolides that have been shown to lower cortisol (stress) and support natural hormone balance.
· Schisandra – AMINO SWITCH™ & ESTRO SWITCH™
This traditional Chinese medicinal berry supports qi (energy & life force). It elicits some of its benefits through liver detoxification. It is also an effective adaptogen (like ashwagandha) and improves how your body responds to caffeine by reducing jitters, improving energy levels and preventing an energy crash.
Schisandra needs to provide high levels of Schisandrin A like that found in AMINO SWITCH™ & ESTRO SWITCH™.
· Alpina galanga – COFFEE SWITCH™, THERMAL SWITCH™ & POWER SWITCH™
This unique alpine grown galangal extract has been shown to improve your tolerance to stress. It was voted 2019 innovative ingredient of the year and outperforms caffeine in focus and alertness scores without activating the central nervous system (without producing adrenaline or cortisol).
Alpina galanga will often be found in combination with caffeine or coffee, as it has been shown to amplify your body's response to caffeine by 30 – 50% and make it feel cleaner & longer lasting.
Alpina may also reduce adenosine in the brain. Therefore, preventing mental fatigue, tiredness and procrastination. It also boosts D2 dopamine receptor sensitivity, which helps combat stress by boosting mood.
The feeling of Alpina and Caffeine together is one of happiness, alertness and profound focus.
· Glycine – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & COLLAGEN SWITCH™
This non-essential amino acid has many benefits, including its tonifying effect on the nervous system. Glycine also helps support connective tissue recovery, immune response, and energy by supporting endogenous (internal) creatine production.
Like GABA, it has a calming effect if used after exercise or before bed. However, Glycine can be consumed before training, where it can help improve energy.
· L-Theanine – ADRENAL SWITCH™
L-Theanine is another non-essential amino acid with the ability to calm your body and brain. L-Theanine is found in green tea and has been shown to take the edge off caffeine (reduce jitters or anxiety) while promoting focus and elevating mood.
· Medicinal Mushrooms – VITALITY SWITCH™ & COFFEE SWITCH™
Medicinal mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine systems for centuries. They are adaptogens that help support your body's response to stress. They're also great at lowering inflammation which could be causing chronic physical stress. Medicinal mushrooms like Shitake, Maitake, Turkey Tail, King Trumpet and Cordyceps support energy and immunity while fighting pathogens like viruses, bacteria, fungus etc.
6) GET YOUR MACROS & MICROS RIGHT:
Undereating or eating calorie-dense but micronutrient depleted food can profoundly affect your mental health, stress, and body fat levels.
Keep in mind 'FOOD CAN CHANGE YOUR MOOD'. Eating food that spikes and then drops your blood sugar levels can leave you exhausted, tired, grumpy, and hungry.
Being in a chronic calorie deficit can increase cortisol (stress hormone), slow fat loss, increase muscle loss, and increase inflammation and stress. Make your diet cyclical and have higher calorie days mixed in with your calorie deficit. Using KETO SWITCH™ between meals or during fasting on your calorie deficit days can reduce muscle loss, support brain function, and reduce hunger.
7) MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS:
We all know meditation and mindfulness are helpful ways of reducing stress. However, some people have difficulty clearing their minds when attempting meditation. Apps like 'Head Space' and others can teach you or guide you through meditation, which can be life-changing.
Cuddling, hugging, kissing, and sex can relieve stress by promoting the release of oxytocin and serotonin. These practices have been shown to lower blood pressure, heart rate and other emotional and physical symptoms of stress.
Chimpanzees also cuddle friends and family who are stressed, and it has the same hormonal response in our closest primate relatives.
9) YOGA & STRETCHING
Yoga is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been shown to lower stress and anxiety for centuries. Studies looking at Yoga's overall effects have shown it to boost mood and lower stress. It may be as effective at treating depression as some medications.
Slowing your breathing helps to activate the parasympathetic (rest, digest, relax & recover) nervous system. It is the opposite of the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system, which is activated by shallow quick breaths.
If you get into anxiety or panic, try 'Box Breathing'.
· Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
· Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
· Exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
· Hold the exhale for 4 seconds.
· Repeat 4 times.
11) GET A PET:
Pets are like cuddling. They help us release oxytocin and serotonin. However, sometimes pets are even better because they generally provide unconditional love in return, and the relationships are not as complicated as human ones.
Having a pet may also keep you active as you must exercise them daily, which is stress-relieving.
12) GET OUT IN NATURE:
Being in nature, surrounded by trees, mountains, lakes, streams or even on the beach, listening to the crashing waves is therapeutic and stress relieving. Part of the stress-relieving effect is due to our connection to the planet, and part of it is the disconnection from emails, social media and more which can increase stress.
Another part is the sunlight on our skin boosts Vitamin D, endorphins and oxytocin, which have immune-boosting, hormone-regulating and stress relieving benefits. Disconnect at least once a week and exercise in nature (not just in the gym or around the block). Breathe in the fresh air and take in the calming effects being away from the city provides.
There are so many stressors in our lives and multiple ways to help manage or destress. You need to consider what is stressing you the most and make efforts to remove these stressors from your life.
If you practice all the above techniques but continue to expose yourself to a stressful job or relationship, it is like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose. It will help but may not prevent all the adverse effects of stress.
Switch Nutrition aim to help people live healthier, more active lifestyles providing your body with all it needs to get the most out of each day with their wide range of products. Check out their range of products here.
One of the most apparent symptoms of stress is a lack of energy or enthusiasm. Getting a good night's sleep by having ADRENAL SWITCH™ before bed will be the number one place to start.
And when you wake up, try replacing your daily brew with COFFEE SWITCH™ for longer-lasting healthier energy!!
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before changing your supplement, training, or nutritional strategy. Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods must not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone consuming prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by a qualified healthcare provider.
A vegetarian or vegan diet has been shown to have distinctive health benefits, and many people today choose to give up meat, dairy and eggs in order to be kinder to animals. While a vegetarian or vegan diet can be healthy and conducive to natural lifestyles, serious athletes and bodybuilders who restrict or eliminate animal-derived foods from their diets can end up deficient of certain nutrients. This can make it difficult to see results from workouts and interfere with athletic performance. The good news is that it's possible to bridge the diet gap with the right sports nutrition supplements.Here are four of the best supplements for vegetarian and vegan athletes and bodybuilders:
1. Vegetable Based Protein PowderProtein is absolutely essential for building new muscle cells and for repairing the strain put on the body during exercise. You can get protein from plants, but most plant proteins are incomplete, which means that they do not contain every single one of the amino acids that are used as building blocks for proteins. Vegetable based protein powders can supply a vegan-friendly form of protein to ensure that you're getting enough of the amino acids that your body requires. Soy protein powders tend to be preferred by many people as they contain a complete amino acid profile. You can also try vegetarian blends with ingredients like pea protein and hemp, or if you eat dairy, a whey protein powder is a vegetarian option with a complete amino acid profile.
2. Branched Chain Amino AcidsLeucine, isoleucine and valine are three key amino acids for muscle development. Called the branched chain amino acids or BCAAs, these amino acids decrease the risk of muscle breakdown when you're completing a grueling workout. The BCAAs have also been shown to stimulate muscle cell production after exercise and to reduce fatigue and increase endurance. Most vegetarian and vegan diets are lacking in these important amino acids, but you can add them to your diet easily in pill or powder form.
3. CreatineCreatine is an important fuel for producing energy in the muscles during exercise, and much of the nutrient stored in the muscle tissue comes from animal proteins in the average adult diet. Since you don't eat meat, there is a good chance you have lower amounts of creatine stored in your muscles than the norm. Taking just 5 grams of creatine per day can help you to promote muscle growth, reduce fatigue and increase your strength.
4. Beta-AlanineBeta-alanine is another amino acid that is found primarily in meats that plays an important role in energy production and that amplifies the benefits of creatine. Experts recommend that vegetarians take 3 to 6 grams of the amino acid per day divided into 2 to 4 even doses. Be prepared to experience a tingly feeling when you take your supplement; that's a normal side effect of beta-alanine and no cause for alarm.For help selecting supplements that are vegan or vegetarian-friendly, feel free to contact us. We'll be glad to help you put together the best sports nutrition programme to help you stick to your diet and get better results at the gym.
What does it take to achieve one's fitness goals? Of course, it takes the right fitness regimen and the correct blend of nutrients to support muscle growth and keep the metabolism functioning optimally. But is that really all?
Of course not! If all that was needed was a workout plan and the right diet, everyone would be walking around looking fit and trim, but that's simply not how it is. There is a third component to success at the gym - personal motivation.
What separates a person who is successful at the gym from someone who is not, usually comes down to motivation. If you want to see results, you have to be motivated to fight for them. That doesn't just mean being motivated to go to the gym and to follow your diet. It also means working out as hard as possible, not just phoning it in or dialling back when it gets difficult.
Unfortunately, our brains often become fatigued long before our bodies. Motivation is almost always responsible when we fail to follow through with our fitness goals. The good news is that there are ways to stay motivated and on track.
Here are five secrets shared by highly successful fitness enthusiasts that anyone can use to get on the path to workout success:
Set Realistic, Tangible Goals.
The best way to stay motivated is to constantly be working toward something tangible. Just saying, "I want to get stronger" isn't a clear enough picture of what you want to achieve for you to be able to celebrate success and stay driven along the way.
Instead, set a long-term goal for yourself and then break it into smaller goals. For example, instead of just "get stronger," you can say "I want to ultimately be able to bench press 315 pounds." Then, you can set a short term goal like, "I want to be able to bench press 280 pounds within the next 6 weeks." Once you reach that goal, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment. Then, you're ready to set a new one and keep progressing forward.
If you're completely new to exercise, consult a trainer for assistance with goal setting to ensure that you're placing realistic expectations on yourself.
Revisit Your Goals Regularly
Make time at least once per week to think about how you're progressing to your goals. In the above example, if you're 2 weeks in and haven't been able to increase the amount of your bench presses at all, you may need to reevaluate what you're doing. Do you need to work out more? Change your diet? What can you do to put yourself on the path for success? Also spend time thinking about why you want to accomplish your goal. What will improve when you're able to lift more or when you lose weight? How will it change your life? Staying focused on the benefits of achieving will help keep you engaged and motivated.
Recognize When It's Time for a Change
If you're revisiting your goals regularly, you'll be able to see when you've reached a point where you're just not progressing, or where you're struggling to stay motivated. In those situations, take the time to carefully evaluate what's wrong. Are you forcing yourself to do workouts that you're always going to hate or are you continuing to go to a gym where you don't feel welcome and relaxed? When the problem is what you're doing or where you're doing it, don't be afraid to change things up. Find a new gym. Experiment with a new workout. Discover what works for you. You'll be better motivated when you're working out in a way that you enjoy in a place that you look forward to going to.
Look at the Big Picture
Let's face it - it can be hard to do things for ourselves. It's much easier to fall into the trap of thinking that you could be doing more work at the office or getting more done around the house and start seeing time at the gym as "wasted." Don't fall into that mental trap, though! Reset your perspective by focusing on the big picture and how working out has a positive impact on your life. For example, regular exercise can improve your mental focus, so you're able to work harder and be more creative when you're at the office. It can also give you more energy so that you're better able to go home and cross the items off of your to-do list productively. When you focus on the overall benefits of exercise, you'll find that your level of motivation soars.
Take Full Ownership
This is the hardest and most important one! If you want to be motivated to achieve your workout goals, you have to understand that ultimately it's up to you whether or not you succeed.
When you're fatigued, bored or stressed, your mind will begin to play games with you. You'll tell yourself a million excuses for why you can or should skip a workout or why it's okay if you don't finish your full workout. These excuses will often place blame elsewhere. Your boss stressed you out, so you deserve a break. With all those activities your kids have, you're just too tired to go to the gym. Be ready for these tricks that your mind plays--and put a stop to them fast.
Don't shift the blame for skipping your workout on anything or anyone else. You're the one who decides what you do or don't do on any given day.
That's not meant to make you feel guilty; it's meant to empower you. Whether or not you succeed is entirely in your hands. You just have to put your mind to it and follow through.
Now that you know the secrets to stay motivated for success, you're ready to get on the path to accomplishing your fitness goals.