To me, sleep has long been ‘everything’, but others have been coming round to this stance, as already, sleep is emerging as quite the hot topic in 2018, with several national newspapers drilling down into its favourable effects our constitution; as health and well-being (quite rightly) occupies a growing mindshare of ‘the Zeitgeist’, it seems only natural that society will begin to challenge that age-old travesty of sacrificing sleep to ‘look committed’ to a cause. We may, in our machismo, think of it as a bank account that can be raided, as a currency which can be exchanged for kudos, or perhaps as an unproductive use of our 24 precious hours, but times – and attitudes – are unquestionably changing. Sleep is fast being seen as an indulgent luxury of which we should consume more, not time wasted but time well invested, and even perhaps as a currency to be spent of its own accord. The tide is beginning to turn, it’s no longer as socially unpalatable to prioritise one’s own recovery, to have an early night, or even (heaven forbid) two in a row! The nation has begun a long overdue conversation about this topic; recovery is on the agenda more than ever before, whether you’re into fitness or not. This post is in collaboration with Tempur, and highlights the so-called Holy Trinity of Recovery; Sleep, Stretching and Sports Massage! Click MORE to read on… (more…)
The eagle-eyed amongst you might have spied that I recently took over the @GarnierUK Instagram a couple of weeks ago as part of the fun of joining their team of super inspirational women! Apart from hosting some epic competitions, I was really keen for the takeover to showcase a few different practical tips to help you be the healthiest version of you and reset for spring! As ever, I always try to emphasise small but lasting changes to help clients feel good about themselves, and discuss them all in a little more detail below with my top 12 tips! I’ve also put some thoughtful care into compiling my ‘Custom Recovery Bundles’ which included some awesome Garnier essentials for Hair, Skin, Body & Sun – the lucky winners are announced in the post! Click MORE to see it all 🙂 (more…)
If you’ve been following the musings of Fitness On Toast for a while, you might know that I often focus on the importance of sleep to complement a healthy lifestyle. It’s one of the key inputs that many of my Personal Training clients seem to minimise! To further my understanding of sleep, I recently took part in a fascinating research study to find out how sleep can enhance sporting performance and indeed overall fitness. Bensons for Beds, the UK’s leading bed specialists, have teamed up with The Sleep School, founded by the UK’s leading sleep expert Dr. Guy Meadows, to create a new data-driven resource, which aims to help everyone achieve a peaceful night’s sleep, in a natural way. This post reviews the test, and includes an interview with Dr. Guy, digging into the theory a little more! (more…)
For me, there’s not much better than the feeling of contentment after an intense ‘sports massage’! Elite athletes consider it an unmissable and totally crucial part of their ‘physical conditioning regime’, to improve performance and boost recovery. But whether you’re off to compete at the Olympics, are a regular gym bunny or a sedentary office worker, everyone’s likely to experience discomfort or tight muscular pain at some point. To clarify, a sports massage is not a ‘cosmetic’ or superficial ‘chill out’ treatment you’d find at a spa; it’s an intensive dose of focused, physical therapy schooled in the medically demonstrable study of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, administered by qualified professionals. If you’ve not had one, I would strongly recommend you to try! It can materially help you to prevent injury, relieve muscle pain and increase mobility… and there are so many other benefits. That’s what this post is all about! I have long considered it a great skill to help clients prevent or relieve injury/pain, so I got to work on a sports massage course with Discovery Learning! Read my top 8 reasons to go for Sports Massage here…
One of my favourite feelings in the world is collapsing into my bed, physically and mentally exhausted, knowing that I have a long, deep, deserving sleep ahead of me. But that’s not just lazy indulgence, as a good night’s sleep isn’t a passive activity, but rather, I think it’s just as actively valuable as regular exercise and quality nutrition. A good night’s sleep can improve overall health and make every aspect of the following day more productive. This post is my take on why and how sleep matters in your healthy lifestyle.
1) “WHY SHOULD I ???”
Getting the right quality and amount of sleep:
– Enhances muscular recovery by speeding-up protein synthesis,
– Restores and maintains mental alertness (by discharging the brain’s accumulated daily Adenosine build-ups),
– Releases Human Growth Hormone – 60% to 70% of daily HGH secretion takes place when you’re in early sleep, following which the deepest sleep cycles often occur! Poor quality sleep can negatively impact human growth hormone levels.
– Restore organs, bones, and tissue; replenishes immune cells; and circulates human growth hormone around the resting body.
– Vastly improves the quality of interaction with other people!
2) MY “SLEEP TIGHT” ETHOS…
‘Get more sleep’ is easily said, but I know a lot people who simply can’t fall asleep, and toss and turn for hours on end. For a while, that was me too, stuck in a catch 22 of feeling too tired during the day, going to bed too late and waking up too early in the morning, only to do it all over again. One way I tackled this was by working out on a regular basis which is proven not only to help you fall asleep, but also to improve the quality of that sleep. Every body is different, so it takes time to figure out what works best for you; I personally prefer a heavy workout early in the morning, a productive day, then a light ‘exercise’ in the late evening (e.g. a power walk which gives my body the final reminder of just how tired it really is!). I wouldn’t recommend doing an intense workout before bed as that energises the body instead of calming it. Afterwards, a relaxing warm bath (I add this lavender bath oil to unwind muscle fatigue) and a mint tea (try to avoid any caffeine or alcohol before sleep, as they’re stimulants). Other things that may help is avoiding oversleeping as it will interrupt your circadian system (‘body clock’), which in turn will set you off later when you need to fall asleep. I’d stay away from sleeping pills as much as possible as they cause the body to develop a dependency, and they don’t get to the root of the real problem anyway, but just mask the symptoms. There are stories of politicians surviving on 4 hours sleep a night, but frankly, that’s unhealthy for anyone in the long run. I’ve always felt 7 hours to be a minimum in order to maximise wellbeing during the day, and I regularly aim for 8 hours. Also a room that’s dark and not too hot helps too. Investing in the largest & highest-quality mattress the room will take can be life-changing, and even fun little apps like the Sleep Cycle alarm clock can help you sleep smarter too!
3) “…AND WHAT IF I DON’T ???”
Not getting enough / high-quality sleep:
– Weakens the immune system,
– Renders you less energetic which will lower the quality/intensity of a workout,
– Affects the concentration of sugar levels in your blood – they’re likely to become elevated, which can lead to development of a pre-diabetic condition,
– Slows the metabolism, leaving it harder to maintain or lose weight,
– Induces a sluggish sense,
– Can increase appetite (certainly does with me!),
– Makes you moody and loose the motivation to workout or do anything!
Hope that helps you to rest up, sleep well, and train harder!
It’s snowing in London to round off the week, & I thought that being a Swede / Viking / Thor, I’d be used to this kind of weather by now, but no, BRRRRRR! If you’re feeling a little under-the-weather but still want to keep up your energy to train, this recipe may come in handy. It’s my ‘Vegetable Recovery Juice’, and it’s immune boosting, packed with vitamins, minerals & antioxidants, low calorie, rich in dietary fibre, and could be just what you need to get the weekend started. It is also be the perfect hangover cure to end the weekend. Either way, have it this weekend!
Grab these gorgeous veggies next time you’re passing a shop (Braeburn apples, Jaffa oranges, carrots and parsley – all organic). Wash, peel, chop, and then blend with water until it’s smoothie-texture. It takes max 10 mins to make, and you can store any extra in the fridge for tomorrow! It’s thick and very filling. The juice is packed with iron (for blood oxygenation and strength), vitamin C (neutralises harmful free radicals, boosts immune system), vitamin A (for healthy sight) and folic acid (anti-carcinogenic, immune-boosting & anti-inflammatory properties).
Some extra benefits ? READ MORE