All posts by James Swan

Immune Health for the Winter Season

With colder months approaching, we will be thinking again of how to naturally make the most from our immune systems and what can we do, from a food and supplement perspective to give us the greatest fight to boost our immune health for the Winter Season against colds, flu, stress and indeed day-to-day living.

Here are a few top tips we as a team use to give that extra boost!

Protein intake:

Protein in the diet isn’t just responsible for maintenance and building of muscle tissue, but also for optimal immune health. Protein breaks down in our bodies to amino acids and these individual amino acids are used by our white blood cells to fight off and clean up the body and to keep you ready and able to stay healthy.

Protein recommendations vary, but a good rule of thumb is 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight, for example a 60kg person (male or female) would want to ingest at least 90grams of protein per day.

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is a very active prohormone in the body, with 100’s of functions and not least as an immune protectant. Unfortunately, vitamin D from UVB rays diminish from September onwards to April in Ireland so we must either get it from our diet or from supplementation. Dietary vitamin D for most people is hard to achieve, due to the fact we don’t consume wild Atlantic salmon or liver on a regular basis, so a daily supplement of 2000iu of vitamin D takes care of the job nicely. Vitamin D takes a while to build up in our cells, so  we need to start early to reap the benefits.

Stress:

Stress comes in many forms, mental, physical, spiritual, chemical etc… This is something many of us cannot avoid. There are a multitude of ways people deal with all types of stress, but here are a few ways we can proactively deal with all types of stress.

B-complex: B vitamins are used in energy metabolism, breaking down foods into energy, but another function of certain  B vitamins is to repair our adrenal glands, which release our stress hormones. A daily B complex (which is a mix of many of the B vitamins), makes sure you have the building blocks to repair and restore your stress hormones aiding in fighting off fatigue and dips in your immune health.

Talk to any of our trainers about these protocols and get up to date with taking your immune health and well-being into your own hands this Winter season! 

Lime, Chilli & Coconut Chicken

This Lime, Chilli & Coconut Chicken is the perfect little midweek dinner or indeed a nice replacement for your ‘takeaway’ night. Why not give it a try this week?
Ingredients
1 lime- juice and zest
12 lemon- juice of
2 tblsp sweet chili sauce (low sugar option)
12 teaspoon soy sauce
1 large garlic clove finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger (grated or finely chopped)
1 mild chilli finely chopped (seeds removed)
1 tbls sesame oil
3 chicken fillets
Can of light coconut milk
Method
  1. Mix all ingredients apart from your coconut milk and chicken breasts in a big bowl.
  2. Slice chicken breasts and put into the bowl with the marinade and mix well, making sure all chicken strips are thoroughly coated.
  3. Seal the bowl and place it in the fridge for at least an hour to marinade.
  4. Remove from the fridge and heat a frying pan on medium-high.
  5. Remove chicken from the marinade, and scrape all the marinade off. Put the chicken in the pan and once one side of the strips are browned, flip over. Then pour the rest of the marinade onto the pan, tossing around the chicken.
  6. Cook chicken and marinade for a few seconds, then add coconut milk. Allow to boil, then  simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve with crunchy veggies and some fluffy wholegrain rice garnished with some coriander.

Kickstart September

How is it almost September already- Time flies when you’re having fun. 

 This time of year things can be a little hectic- and this year probably more than most. Kids back to school, back to work – maybe even back in the office, back to training, back to your regular activities.

After a difficult year, hopefully you’re had a great summer full of fun with family and friends- too much food, too much wine and lots of laughter– it’s good for the soul! 

 Rather than beating yourself up for letting your training slip, your nutrition switch from salads to pizza and your water intake switching to wine, why not accept it was what was needed at the time. It happens to us all and sometimes it’s just needed to rest, relax and restore. With a new season change, we are more motivated now to take control of our health, to really focus on our training and food.  

‘Kick Start’ September is the perfect time to realign your habits with your goals, to check in with how you are getting on, to re-focus the mind and tune back into your health.  

 We can ask ourselves some simple questions and the answers will give us an indication of what we need to do or what we need to change. 

  • Are you training enough? 
  • Are you training too much? 
  • Has your nutrition slipped? 
  • Are you getting enough sleep? 
  • Are you going to bed too late? 
  • Are you getting your steps in?  
  • Are you drinking enough water? 

 

Remember to keep it simple, focusing on just 3 simple things:

  1. Set your training schedule – what’s the minimum number of times you will train a week? Commit to doing at least 2 or 3 sessions a week or 10-12 sessions a month. By targeting the minimum, rather than the maximum, helps set us up for success. We can set a daily or weekly step target to help improve our NEAT.  
  2. Set your nutrition goals – easier said than done! If you track calories and this works for you then this is your go-to tool. If not, then the key is not to over complicate it. Start off simply with 3 meals a day and one snack – focus on protein intake at each meal. This takes time to get back into the habit of doing it right.Consistently good trumps sporadically perfect.
  3. Bedtime – the most underrated and often overlooked aspect. Sleep has a direct impact on all aspects of our life – mood, food choices and energy- so it makes sense to prioritise it. Set yourself a bedtime and work backwards. Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep by limiting screen time before bed and limiting caffeine intake by 3/4pm. 

Remember, it is absolutely ok if things have slipped and it won’t take long to get yourself back on track. Why not use September as a way to ‘kick start’ your path to a healthier you again- But remember- Keep it simple! Oh and of course we are here to help if you have any questions or hit any speed bumps getting back on track…

 

  

gym

Gyms Reopening June 7th- How to prepare for the countdown…

Looking to get back into your fitness groove post-covid with gyms reopening on June 7th? Slow and steady wins the race with our TOP TIPS on easing yourself back in and how to prepare for the countdown…

Whether you have been active with at-home workouts or you’ve taken a long Covid break from exercise, getting back into your fitness groove should be a gradual process. The fastest way to cause injury is to aim to hit the ground running, without any ground work, so to speak.

The good news is that it doesn’t take long to get your fitness and strength back, and with the right training and improving your nutrition, you will  be ready to go in next to no time!

Here are a few easy tips to follow to get back to normal:

1. Increase the resistance gradually. You will want to lift the same weight you were lifting prior to lockdown, but we would advise to start off with lighter weights for the first few weeks, with the help of our trainers, to ensure you can train longer, without injury. 

2. Keep your protein intake high. Higher protein levels (1.6grams per kg of bodyweight) are associated with greater satiety, faster recovery and increased fat loss. The key is to ensure the protein intake is evenly distributed throughout the day; for example 30grams of protein in 3-4 meals per day, versus a large portion of protein for dinner only.   

3. Build your cardio up slowly. Just like your resistance training advice, the fastest way for tendinitis, shin splits etc… is to hit the pavement hard as soon as gyms are open. Our advice here is to build up your distance week by week, allowing the body time to adapt.

4. Organise a consultation. Although all of our amazing clients receive a consultation prior to commencing training with us, rebooking a new consultation will help us establish new goals, help refocus your training and will allow us to see if there are any ways in which we can help you in achieving your fitness and strength goals. Consultations will take up to 30 minutes via Zoom (we can even fit into your lunch break!). The information we gather is extremely important when tailor-making your training plans.

vitamin d

Vitamin D- Do we need to supplement?

The argument for taking a vitamin D supplement is officially over, with a recent study from Trinity College Dublin revealing that a large proportion of the population are deficient in vitamin D and therefore supplementing or adding high vitamin d containing foods into your diet is a necessity.

Vitamin d can be absorbed from the sun (good luck with this in Ireland!) and through the diet, mainly from organ meats and fish such as wild Atlantic salmon (which is quite difficult to source as most of our salmon is farmed). The sourcing of good quality fish makes all the difference in the levels of vitamin d in the fish itself. Supplementing with vitamin d is an easy and cost-effective way of ensuring your blood levels of same, without compromise.

Why is vitamin d so important?

It has been shown that when your vitamin D levels are deficient you are 10x more likely to pass due to Covid-19 symptoms. The immune properties of vitamin d make this, especially for an Irish climate or indoors all day, one of the most important vitamins on your daily checklist.

Taking vitamin D at a dose of 2000iu per day will, over time, increase your body’s level of the vitamin and increase your ability to fight off invaders.

Our vitamin d is one of our bestselling supplements and with good reason- this is suitable for all of the family and comes in a delicious chewable format that is pleasant and easy to swallow. 

Fish Oils & Why you need to eat Fat

With the exception of coconut oil, most vegetable-based oils are not exactly a good addition to your daily diet. For a healthier happier and leaner life, the type of fats you incorporate have a profound impact on your overall health. Quite simply, fats essentially make up the wall around our cells so that they can communicate and ingest nutrients. A diet that is comprised of trans fats, vegetable oils or rancid (burned) oils make these normal tasks less efficient, so to speak, and therefore detrimental to your health, energy and fat loss goals.

But which fats?

One of the main issues seen in the nutrition of the general public is the overwhelming ratio of omega 6 fats to omega 3 fats, with omega 6 fats for most people being derived from vegetable oils. The negative consequences of a high omega 6 to omega 3 fats ration is high blood inflammation leading to impaired health.

The good fats

Although there are a number of omega 3 fatty acids available, the best sources are from fish oils. These amazing oils are broken into DHA and EPA, both of which are absolutely essential to brain health, lower inflammation and even to help aid your exercise recovery and fat burning abilities. Omega 3’s from flax have also garnished some popularity over the years, but have little to no comparison in the body’s ability to use them effectively.

When and how to include fats in my diet

Fish oils are best taken with meals to aid absorption. The optimal intake is roughly 2 grams per day, with our latest product launch available here, our new high quality fish oil

Why Weight loss Diets Fail

A big part of what we seek to do for our EDGE community is to educate; to help you move better, feel better, be as happy as you can possibly be and, ultimately, to be the best version of yourself. When we introduce a new nutrition approach or are looking to make changes, it is always good to learn from others mistakes!

The top 5 reasons most diets fail:

1. Overly restrictive

By this we mean massively reducing your calorie intake to a level that you are cranky, short tempered and constantly thinking about the food you can’t eat! Sometimes this involves cutting entire food groups, most notably carbs. The aggressive calorie deficit of sometimes 30% or more is just not sustainable for any period of time to enable your body to drop weight. Some people can last a couple of days maybe even a week or more but they end up on a food binge, eating everything in site resulting a massive calorie surplus. This ultimately leads to feeling frustrated, angry and even depressed at a “failed” attempt! While aggressive calorie restriction can work, in our experience it needs to be planned, organised and with a short window of time.

The solution– look at the bigger picture. Look at improving health, improving your intake of more nutritious foods, increase your activity levels and build a smaller calorie deficit that is negatively impacting your life. Fat loss will be slower, more sustainable and have less of an impact on your mental health.

2. Over-estimating Calories “Burned”

Calorie Burners, Calorie chambers and calorie busting classes are very popular and with good reason. We even have our own “ON-BEAT’ – HR monitored class. Who doesn’t like to see when we have burned a “1000 calories in 45 minutes”! The problem with this is that the majority of these systems and HR tracking software overestimates the amount of calories we are burning in a session. This also has the added effect of wanting to do “calorie burners” all the time and can increase risk of injury which can leads to less movement or training which is the opposite of what we want to happen.

The solution – don’t use ‘calories burned’ as a way to increase calorie intake. Instead use exercise and training as part of what you do to feel and look better.

3. Under-estimating Calorie Intake

No matter how good you are at tracking calories, after a while we become complacent, we forget the “healthy treat” we had with our coffee or the portion sizes start to sneak back up. Whatever way it happens, it happens, and subconsciously or not, calories will soon start to increase over time.

The solution – we actually plan this into our approach for some of our clients when moving from tracking calories to eyeing portion sizes or ‘guess-timations’. It is an important part of progressing and allowing you to live your life and still get results.

4. Restricting for Too Long

This is when you overstay your welcome! Restricting calories for too long or trying to diet for too long can lead to a natural decrease in your NEAT (movement, steps daily activity) and training drive, training performance. Also, the impact of trying to diet all the time on your mental health is something not to be underestimated.

The solution – There is nothing wrong with dieting but we no one should be in a deficit or restrictive period all the time. Plan for maintenance phase or, better still, switch the focus to training goals. Whichever approach you use, it is important to schedule it in and make it happen!

5. Short term focus

This is the reason for yo-yo dieting. The problem with the majority of diets is that they have a short-term focus with a short-term goal- 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks…So while you may be successful in the short term once old habits come back so will the weight gain.

The solution – Weight gain didn’t happen overnight, and neither will weight loss

We tend to do this instead of look at creating long lasting life changing habits. Changing behaviour isn’t straight forward and we shouldn’t look to change everything at once. Ultimately we want to improve our nutrition choices to lead us to a balanced nutrition approach. As behaviour expert  James Clear says, ‘small changes can have big effects’.

The Benefits of Coffee

Coffee

It may not be love at first sip for coffee lovers out there, but like your first sip of red wine, your love for coffee and more unusual flavours adapt over time.

Taste aside our morning cup of joe packs more than a little punch to keep us focused while we work from home on our laptops our smash out a new exercise program.

What are the benefits of coffee?

Coffee has noticeable benefits, not just in terms of overall health, but also your exercise and performance. Some of the studied benefits are:

Accelerating Fat Loss

Caffeine has the ability to improve our insulin sensitivity which means you’re less likely to store fuel in fat cells and more likely to store glucose in muscles. This means it can be utilised while exercising.

Increased training drive and performance

Caffeine intake pre workout can decrease your perceived exertion, which means you can push yourself harder and for longer with both resistance exercise and cardiovascular training.

Should I limit my caffeine intake?

The timing of your coffee is quite important in order to maximize the benefits. Firstly, coffee has its best effects when taken earlier in the day, by stimulating our normal cortisol rhythm which keeps us using fat as fuel for longer. Inversely, not having your coffee later in the day means your sleeping patterns won’t be thrown off and your recovery, with good restful sleep, will be improved.

Also, as a side note, try not mix coffee with high carbohydrate meals (like a croissant!), no matter the source. Caffeine can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb glucose from carbohydrates, which is a precursor to diabetes. It’s best to have your coffee with a higher protein breakfast or on an empty stomach.

The Edge: Retreat

We are delighted to announce something we’ve been VERY excited about for quite some time now!

The Edge: Retreat is taking place in February 2019, in the picturesque setting of Avon Ri, Blessington, Co. Wicklow.

Our goal for this weekend training retreat is to offer the perfect blend of challenging training sessions, mindfulness yoga and tailored nutrition.

At The Edge: Clontarf we have always applied a 3 pronged approach to health and fitness – Training, Nutrition and Lifestyle. This retreat will help reset our clients’ general approach to their own lifestyle choices. We are looking to equip them with the necessary tools and awareness to take away to help them in their everyday life.

We believe that change is all a matter of mindset and inspiration. And sometimes, you have to take a little well-deserved ‘me-time’ to do just that.

When: Friday 1st February – Sunday 3rd February (2 nights)

Where: Avon Ri. Situated against the beautiful backdrop of the Wicklow mountains, Avon Rí Lakeshore Resort is a unique escape for those in search of rest and relaxation, fresh air and outdoor activity. An exceptional venue in a truly unique location.

Cost:

Early Bird €425 (Available until December 1st)

Full Price €495

FAQ

  • What is the accommodation like?

Avon Ri is a 4 star luxury resort. Retreaters will be in shared accommodation. This is a town house style property, capable of sleeping up to 6 people.

  • Beds for up to 6 people
  • Large, open plan kitchen / dining / living area with Cable TV and couches
  • Ground Floor family bathroom
  • Ground Floor double bedroom
  • First Floor double bedroom with en suite bathroom
  • First Floor twin bedroom with en suite bathroom
  • Spacious Hallway
  • Kitchen includes all appliances & accessories
  • Daily cleaning service: Towels, sheets and linens all provided

  • Do I need to be a client of The Edge: Clontarf?

The Edge: Clontarf clients will be given preference to first available slots, but if all places are not filled we will be opening it up to non-clients.

  • Do I need to be a certain standard of fitness?

The training sessions will be suitable for all levels of fitness. All we ask is that everybody who attends pushes themselves as much as they possibly can.

  • What are arrival/check in and departure times?

You can check in on Friday anytime after 3pm. We will have a a team talk and some food at 6.30pm followed by our first training session. Check out is 11am on the Sunday morning.

  • How do I secure my place?

To secure your place on The Edge: Retreat, simply contact your trainer or any staff member at The Edge: Clontarf with a deposit of €50. Call 018534091 for further details.

  • How do I know if this is for me?

If you’re interested in kick-starting your year after the January motivation dwindles and have a passion for feeling good and challenging yourself, then this is for you.

This retreat is a no-alcohol and no- smoking retreat and is focused on group-wide health and well-being, open to both men and women over 18 years of age. If you’re looking for a health or fitness retreat in Dublin or Wicklow, why not treat yourself or someone special to The Edge: Retreat?

The Elimination Diet

The elimination diet is designed to uncover hidden food intolerances, to heal the gut, to bring down inflammation  and to tailor a food plan  that  works  best  for  your  body. Unfortunately this method is often used as a weight loss or fat loss tool for aesthetic improvements  or  elements  of  it  become  linked  to  fad diets  and  short  term  unhealthy  “detoxes”.

While fat loss and aesthetic improvements are absolutely a result of this method, it shouldn’t be the main basis for doing it. The aim is to be functioning optimally from the inside out.

When the body (particularly the gut) is working as it should, looking and feeling amazing is one of the awesome results

What does the elimination diet do?

  • Removes the  most  inflammatory  foods.
  • Includes the  best  gut-healing  foods.
  • Gives your  gut  time  to  heal.
  • Helps you  discover  your  food  intolerances.
  • Starts to  balance  out  your  microbiome(  gut  microbes)

But before we go on, step 1 is to take stock! It’s hard to know where you’re going unless you know where you are.

Do you have skin issues? Digestive issues like gas, bloating, or intermittent constipation? Bad allergies? How’s your energy level? What about your mood? Ever feel like you suffer from brain fog? These are just some potential symptoms of food sensitivities.

So, before you begin an elimination diet, start at your head and go to your toes, and make a list of everything you notice in your body, however subtle or long-standing the symptom has been. This sets you up to notice important changes when they happen. Also tracking physiological bench markers such as weight , circumference measurements, taking a picture.

How  long  is  it  for  and  why?

I  would  ask  you  to  set  aside  28  days  to  comprehensively  complete the  full  gut  reset.

21  days  of  implementation:

The  gut  on  average  takes  21  days  to  respond  to  these  changes,  through  re-balancing  the  gut  bacteria, reducing  inflammation  and  improving  the  guts  ability to  be  able to  absorb  &  digest  nutrients  from  good quality  foods.

7  days  of  re-introduction  of  food  groups:

This  part  is  often  overlooked  and  gets  left  behind  amidst  the  post elimination  blow  out  plans  (  nights  out, alcohol,  celebratory  dinner  etc) however it is almost  the  most  crucial  part  of  the  process.

During  the reintroduction  of  foods  we  can  establish  exactly  what  one  might be  intolerant  to as  well  as  understanding  for each  individual  what  foods  they  respond  best  to.

Why 21 Days?

Antibodies, which are the proteins that your immune system makes when it reacts to foods, take around 21 to 23 days to turn over, so if you don’t eliminate things to which you’re sensitive for at least this amount of  time, you won’t get the full effect of eliminating them.

Also

New habits take 21 days to form,  which is also why we’re doing a 21-day elimination diet! We want to instil and maintain the positive habit changes learned during the elimination phase.

 

Facts  about  the  gut  &  why  it’s  so  crucial  to  our  overall  health

Roughly 80% of your  immune  system  is  located  In  your  gut

•The gut is your  second  brain  ,  it  can  influence  the  chemistry of  your  mood, emotions, immune  function  and long  term  health

•There are  more  neurons  (nerve  cells  that process and transmit  information)  in  your  gut  than  there  are  in  your central  nervous  system (CNS),  which  includes  the  brain  and  spinal  cord

•95% of  your  serotonin(  happy  hormone)  is  located  within  the  gastrointestinal  tract.  So  you  can  see  how much  influence  the  condition  of  your  gut  will  have  on  your  mood day  to  day  or  even  meal  to  meal.

•Your  digestive  tract  is  roughly  nine  metres  in  length,  about  the  same  as  a  double-decker  bus  (this  ones  just interesting)

 

What  results  to  expect  from  the  elimination  diet?

Improved  sleep  quality

Improved  energy  levels

Improved  bowel  health

Improved  mood

Improved  cognitive  function

Overall  calmness  /  zen

Improved  Skin  &  hair  condition

Weight  loss  (  on  the  scales)

Inches  lost

Fat  loss

Clothes  fitting  better

Stabilisation  of  hormones

Less  Pms  / menstrual  cycle  symptoms

What  can  I  eat?

One of the biggest misconceptions  people  have  about  the  elimination  diet  is  that  they  won’t  be  able  to  eat  any delicious  foods.

Let’s first go over all the nutritious foods  you  can enjoy while  on  the  elimination  diet.

Organic meats & fish

Lean grass fed Beef

Free range Chicken

Turkey

Lamb

Salmon

Mackerel

Sardines

Cod

Plaice

Tuna steaks

Vegetables

The Emphasis  is  on green  veg only , in  particular  leafy  vegetables. There  is  no  cap  on  how  much  of  these  you  can eat  in  a  day, the more the better .

Healthy fats

Extra  virgin  Coconut  oil

Unsalted  butter

Ghee

Animal  fats  (  duck  &  goose)

Extra  virgin  Olive  oil

Rapeseed  oil

Nuts  (  Brazil,  cashew,  almonds, walnut, pecan – no peanuts , as these are legumes and a nutritionally poorer quality nut)

Nut  butters

Seeds  (  sesame ,  chia,  flax,  sunflower, pumpkin etc)

Avocado  (  is  actually  a  fruit  but  massive  fat  source)

Eggs (protein  and  fats)

Hydration

Take in as  many  herbal  teas  as  you  like  throughout  the  day, these  have  massive  benefits  alongside hydration.  Green teas have  a  caffeine  content  so  keep  these  to  a  minimum. Also  make  sure  you  take in  at  least  1.5  litres  of  purified  water  a  day

What to eliminate 

Finally, just a reminder of what to strictly stay away from:

Processed food 

Rice

Salt 

Sugar 

Caffeine 

Alcohol 

Root vegetables 

Gluten 

Dairy 

Fruit 

Legumes (beans, peanuts, peas, and lentils)

Why Alcohol?

Eliminating alcohol is partly for the detox factor. But alcohol also has a lot of sugar that helps things like yeast and harmful bacteria in your gut thrive. So when you eliminate alcohol, you may feel better in a few weeks, not just because of the absence of a sleep disruptor and a depressant, but because you’ve actually changed the flora in your gut that are critical to keeping you healthy!

How do I reintroduce foods the right way?

This part is really very simple, On day 22, pick one thing you eliminated—like dairy,gluten or  eggs (but no more than one) and eat it.

See how you feel over the next 48 hours. If you have no reaction after two days, eat that same food again, and for a second time, notice how you feel. From there, it’s up to you whether to re-incorporate that food into your diet on a regular basis.

Once you’ve made a call on the first food you reintroduce, pick another one and follow the same steps.

Finally benchmark your results

Throughout the diet and the reintroduction process, notice how you feel. Maybe you’ll see changes you weren’t expecting. Maybe your sleep quality or your energy level is better. Maybe the redness in your skin is gone, or your belly is flatter.

No blood test or doctor can tell you what life without a particular food will be like. When you find out for yourself, you could be saving yourself a lifetime of inflammation, annoying symptoms, and in some cases, even life-threatening diseases.

Please be aware this is a basic template  protocol ,there is more than one way to skin a cat,  and are many ways to modify this to suit specific individuals.

Good luck and Enjoy

Clódagh

The benefits of Intra-Workout Fuel

Should you be taking an intra-workout fuel?

Taking an intra (during) workout supplement is not something most trainees do, focusing more on the post workout protein shake, but is there much validity to taking some form of nutritional supplement during your workout.

The Edge Personal Trainers started to take intra workout nutrition from  advice via the legendary strength coach Charles Poliquin, who recommended adding high dose BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) for many potential positive effects (including increased training drive, increased MPS (Muscle protein synthesis) to name a few.

If you’ve trained in The Edge you would have noticed the majority of our trainers and clients carrying around the luminous coloured drinks 🙂

Has much changed? Well yes!

More recently, research has pointed towards EAA’s (Essential Amino Acids) as a more appropriate intra-workout fuel. A study was conducted using randomly assigned groups.

Group 1: Were given a placebo (Artificially sweetened water)

Group 2: Were given a carbohydrate drink

Group 3: Were given EAA’s

Group 4: Were given EAA’s and the carb drink.

The 4 groups were made train for 12 weeks and the difference in between groups was quite significant.

The EAA and Carb drink group doubled the lean mass gains of the next group, increasing muscle tissue by a whopping 4.1kg! In terms of adding muscle, that’s pretty huge.

The reasons for this is that the mixture of EAA’s and Carbs decreased the amount of cortisol the body produced as a consequence of training by an enormous amount, and helped repair tissue and build new lean muscle more rapidly. After every training session you do, your body increases its stress hormones, which, when elevated, has a negative effect on muscle tissue formation and bodyfat production. Adding in this mixture negated this effect and, not only preserved muscle tissue, but added in some new tissue too!

In terms of EAA’s Vs BCAA’s what’s the better approach to take?

Well, muscle tissue needs a huge variety of amino acids to make new proteins so the EAA’s trump BCAA’s on sheer quantity and variety of amino acids., but the body uses huge amount of one the BCAA’s especially when exercising.

The Edge: Performance

The Edge has developed a Mixture of EAA’s and BCAA’S called Amino Fuel.

1 scoop equates to the required dose to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Our recommendations are if you are looking to add muscle mass, add our Amino Fuel to a carb drink like lucozade, roughly a carb drink with 25-30grams of carbohydrates.

Or if you’re looking for more of a muscle sparing fat-burning effect, leave the carbs out of the mix. You can top up here!

 

The Importance of Sleep

Most of our clients are probably sick to death of The Edge: Clontarf personal trainers driving home the importance of sleep and how detrimental good sleep is to, not only your training goals, but also healing injuries (in fact, all of your healing is done as you sleep) and your overall mental performance each day.

As seen with many health issues at the moment, these include joint pain, colds, fatigue etc we have actually started to normalized them. As we have with bad sleeping patterns, you develop bad habits-  going to the bathroom 2-3 times per night, restless leg syndrome, various sleep apneas. When we sleep, our bodies are paralyzed and for a good reason, our bodies only heal when we are not moving, so if we are tossing and turning at night how are we suppose to fully recover??

Neurologist Dr Stasha Gominak has explained that when bad sleep occurs we stop repairing our genetic weaknesses, she explains that bad sleep increases the likeliness of Cardiovascular disease, lower testosterone levels, decreased immunity and so much more.

 
Here are some great tips we use to ensure our clients get the most restful sleep possible:

Caffeine intake: If you are sensitive to coffee, limit your intake to 1-2 cups per day pre 1pm. Caffeine has a long enough shelf-life, (roughly 9 hours) so if you can’t excrete it fast enough, you must take your dose early!

Time your carbs: Taking in some carbs with your last meal of the day can aid sleep by building some precursors to the calming neurotransmitter serotonin, try some starchy varieties like sweet potato, rice and beans.

Make sure your vitamin D levels are adequate: Low vitamin D levels are a sure way of having bad sleep and everyday fatigue. Vitamin D blood levels should be roughly (60ng/ml). If we can get your vitamin D levels to this optimal range, sleeping patterns should improve. One of the main reasons for Vitamin D aiding sleep is that this Vitamin has a high affinity for the area of the brain associated with sleep.

Be consistent: Your body and brain love consistency, especially when it comes to sleep. Getting to bed by 10:30/11pm (without a phone, laptop or TV) each night teaches the body to wind down at the same time and develops a healthy sleeping regimen.

Exercise: Sedentary lifestyle is associated with altered sleep. We don’t need to train everyday, but our bodies are designed to move. 20-30 minutes of activity every day should be plenty for most people to lower your stress hormones and help to heal your body with good sleep.

Adding these tips to your daily routine can positively affect your health and well-being but also make a big difference to your training goals!

Why women need to weightlift

As the Edge’s only female personal trainer and from my experience within the industry I can identify with the many fears women have when it comes to lifting weights.

These fears can include “lifting weights will make me bulky and masculine”, “it’s dangerous for women to lift heavy weights”, “I don’t know how to lift weights and I’m too embarrassed to try”, “Weightlifting is very masculine and I’m not going into a gym full off men” and “I need to lose weight first as weights don’t help you to lose weight”.

To undo all your misconceptions, I will explain in detail why women need to lift weights no matter what age, shape or level of fitness they are in order to stay fit and healthy.

1. Lifting weight will promote a curvy feminine body

Lifting weights does not lead to the misconception that many women have which is that lifting weights is masculine and that you will start to resemble a man if you start to lift weights. Putting it simply female hormones are not the same as male hormones. We simply do not have the level of testosterone in our bodies to compete with the size of our male counterparts unless we are supplementing with additional testosterone as a performance enhancing drug which I’m presuming 99.999% of us aren’t!

Cardio alone on the other hand will make us lose our curves as we will lose both body fat and muscle mass making us lose our sought after hourglass shape.

2. Women have less muscle mass than men and have to work harder to see results

This gives us all the more reason to incorporate weights into their training. Although Cardio can keep your weight down lifting weights is most effective when it comes to building muscle and getting lean. The more muscle you have the more fat you will burn. Weight lifting increases your metabolic rate faster than cardio meaning more calories are expended during and after you weight train in comparison to cardio exercises.

3. Increase in strength /bone mass

According to the International Osteoporosis Society one in two women over the age of 50 will develop a fracture due to a brittle bone disease known as osteoporosis. Osteopenia the onset of osteoporosis is on the rise in Ireland particularly amongyoung women. The root of this condition includes hormonal imbalance in females due to a withdrawal of estrogen, a lack of sunshine (vitamin D) which understandably Irish people lack due to our adverse weather. Smoking and drink excessively is also a major factor in the rise of the disease among females in Irish society. Incorporating weight bearing exercises into your program is highly recommended to help you to avoid the onset symptoms of osteoporosis.

4. Heart health

Weight training has long been acknowledged as a means for developing muscular strength, endurance, power and muscle mass however it has only been identified in recent years to be beneficial to individuals with chronic heart disease. Resistance exercise (such as lifting weights) produces a different pattern of blood vessel responses than aerobic exercise, suggesting that weight in addition to cardio is recommendation for sustaining a healthy heart.

5. Sleep and mood

Research shows that exercising regularly with weights delivers significant mental health benefits including a reduction in the symptoms of depression, anxiety and fatigue.

6. Confidence and Physical self-reliance

Although many women feel extremely intimidated at the thought of lifting weights, The Edge offers a very different environment. Over three quarters of our clients are female. All clients are encouraged to lift weights and one of the best parts our job is observing the confidence women gain from weight lifting. In my opinion, the physical self-reliance gained by women while weight training in The Edge is very powerful, and it bleeds into other areas of their lives.

The following are a number of tips I would give anyone contemplating doing weights:

1. Ask an expert: If you want to lift weights but feel too embarrassed come along to a The Edge where you will experience a friendly, caring environment. A personal trainer providing you with clear instruction could be all you need to get you started.

2. Concentrate on form as opposed to size of weights: At the beginning concentrate on your form as opposed to the size of weights you are lifting. This will prevent injury and ensure you reach your goals safely.

3. Begin with full body workouts: Concentrate on full body workouts as opposed to certain muscle groups as this will help increase your overall strength which will prepare your body for more compound exercises as you progress.

4. Incorporate rest periods during sessions/rest days: Allowing your muscles time to rest between sets will enable recovery and muscle growth. Clients can be very militant at beginning and sometimes overdo it. Listen to your body. Soreness is fine, pain is not.

5. Work on imperfections: We all have imbalances when we first start training and will notice we are stronger in some areas and weaker in others. It is therefore important to incorporate isolating exercises into your program to strengthen up areas of weakness. For example one leg may be weaker than the other and you may need to include split squats to work solely on the weaker leg.

6. Leave your stress at home: Personal trainers within The Edge are not here to judge, embarrass or make fun of you. Understand that mistakes are an inevitable (and valuable!) and part of any learning experience. Be yourself, enjoy the atmosphere and most importantly give it a go as I promise you will never regret starting.

Good luck and I look forward to meeting you on the gym floor!

Yours in fitness and health,

Jen

5 tips for supplementing your diet

There are many products that are advertised to have ‘amazing’ effects for health and performance but what are the right supplements for general health and performance on a daily basis to ensure you are working at your optimal.

1. Fish oils or Omega 3’s: Fish oils are a staple for  all of our trainers and clients. Fish oils should be added to the diet of the wider public. Benefits include expressing (switching on) genes associated with fat burning, aiding in blood sugar control (paramount in lowering bodyfat), helping the body recover after workouts- the list goes on. You can purchase our high EPA/DHA omega 3 fish oils here.

2. Whey protein:  Whey protein is broken down in the body to amino acids especially those responsible for workout recovery, preserving lean muscle tissue and also aiding in performance during the your workout (if you can do more during the session, you get results faster!). Whey also helps increase your daily protein needs. Most single servings are around 25-30grams of protein equivalent to 120grams of chicken. You can now pop into our gym for a selection of premium protein- both whey and casein are in stock or can be ordered.

3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D seems to be the wonder supplement at the moment, and there are a myriad of reasons for this. All vitamins are obviously important, but the main difference with this vitamin is that it needs sunlight to be activated or through high concentrations through the diet. One way to find out if you have adequate vitamin d is to look out your window- typically little to no sunlight. If you don’t receive weekly doses of sunlight or eat a diet that contains higher level of vitamin d i.e. liver, fatty fish then you will need to supplement. Vitamin D helps with 100’s of genes that help with health, fitness strength, joint health and mental health. You can stock up here.

4. Infinity Fuel (greens drink): We all know the benefits of vegetables but how much do we regularly consume? The Edge developed Infinity Fuel for this very purpose. A super high concentration of mixed veg, berries, probiotics and oils makes sure you are getting the optimal from your body. We developed this product with a leading microbiologist to make sure the strains of probiotics are potent enough to keep you healthy year round so you can train hard and recover much more readily, session to session. They are our top-selling supplement with very good reason, so get yours here while you can.

5. Magnesium: Magnesium is one of those minerals that if low can cause cramps, low energy and bad sleeping patterns. Adding a dose of magnesium to your pre-bed meal can have significant effects on your sleep. Sleep is where the REAL magic happens- try training hard or losing body fat with a lack of sleep- it’s near impossible. Start off with 400mg of magnesium, take this for 5 days and add in another 200mg if needed. Here you can grab our blend of highly potent magnesium.

Again this is a very simplistic approach to supplementation, so should you have any questions at all regarding your own nutritional supplementation and what might be best for your goals, email: info@theedgegym.ie

5 Habits of highly successful gym goers

1. Ask the expert: One of the most beneficial things a new or experienced trainee can do is find someone who knows what they are talking about. Without going on a rant, social media which has led to many great opportunities in the fitness industry has also led to an environment where anyone with a “six-pack” is now a nutritional and training expert- something you don’t find in many other industries. Finding a good trainer nowadays is a hard task, but there are basic qualifications you should look for to ensure you are getting a safe, effective and, most importantly, a specific program tailored to your needs. “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”.

2. Write down your goals. When we start with any new client, or are re-evaluating goals with a current client, we get very specific in terms of their personal goal setting and so too should you. We find those who are the most specific with their goals, by writing them down, keep focus and determination for longer periods of time into the new year. A sample goal could be; I will to add 10kg to my deadlift by X date or I will keep my food diary so I can drop X body fat by X date) and so on…

3. Know your calorie intake. The single most important variable to either dropping body fat or adding muscle tissue is knowing your optimal calorie intake. Start off by downloading the free app myfitnesspal, this allows you to count your calories and also know what your macronutrient numbers look like (carbohydrate, protein and fat intake).

An easy calculation for men (24xBW in KG), women (22.4xBWin KG) this gives you an estimated basal metabolic rate. Now we add in your goal, if you want to add weight you multiply this figure by 1.2-1.4 and if your goal is to lose body fat you multiply by 0.80.

Example. A 70kg women wanting to drop bodyfat, 70kgx22.4 =1568 BMR, minus goal = 1255 calories.

There are exceptions to this rule however. Never allow your calories to drop below 1200kcals. Allow for your cheat meal every 5-6 days. Diet cuts should be for a maximum 8-10 weeks for most people. Before starting any weight loss program make sure you have not been on a calorie-restricted diet before hand.

4. Plan your cheat meals. Cheat meals have their place in your new plan. Allowing yourself to have whatever you want for a meal or two has a few positive functions. A large increase in calories and, in particular, carbohydrates every 5-6 days aids in resetting your metabolism, by aiding in turning up the “heat” of your thyroid gland. An influx of calories also helps lower stress hormones like cortisol, which in higher levels stumps your body’s results, if in a chronic state. Also from a psychological point of view, cheat meals can help motivate you for the following weeks training and nutritional plan.

5. Measure your progress. Find a way to measure how your progress is moving along. If you have tried and failed at different attempts to start a new healthy lifestyle or gym program, you may just be lacking motivation. Keep yourself in check and measure progress- no matter how small. Progress might be adding 5kg to your squat, holding an isometric chin up for 10 seconds or dropping a kilo in body weight. Note: We measure using a body fat analysis tool; this allows us to differentiate between losing fat, water, adding muscle or for women separating between the phases of the menstrual cycle. Taking progress photos is also a great way to keep yourself on track.

Should you wish to discuss any of the above, email info@theedgegym.ie and ask about our FREE consultations.

New Christmas Bootcamp

Looking to look and feel your BEST in time for the festive season?

Why not give yourself a little TLC & the health-kick you are looking for to beat those New Year gym bunnies! Our brand new Christmas Bootcamps are ideal for those of you looking to lose unwanted body fat and increase your strength and fitness in just a short few weeks!
 
Night Owls Christmas Bootcamp
4 Weeks of evening classes
Start date: 22nd November
Time: Tuesday @8pm & Friday @7pm
Cost: €99
 
Early Risers Christmas Bootcamp
3 Weeks of morning classes
Start date: 29th November
Time: Tue and Thurs @ 6am
Cost: €75
 
To sign up for your place, simply email info@theedgegym.ie or call us on 01853409.
 
Alternatively you can speak to your trainer!

Skin health and the importance of nutrition

Pursuing a healthy lifestyle has many benefits, including more energy, feeling more mentally balanced and having a leaner and more toned body. However, one thing that is not commonly discussed are the effects of exercise and nutrition on skin health.

One of the most defining ‘feel-good’ factors for people is their appearance- not how well they dress but how well they naturally look- how their face looks when they wake up in the morning; from wrinkles, sagging and fine lines to issues with spots, blackheads and uneven complexion.

Here are a few tips to improve your skin health:

Vitamin D: Taking in Vitamin D from the sun or from your diet or supplementation is a super way of increasing your vitamin D intake. Skin has a high fat percentage and looking after yourself with fat soluble nutrients like Vitamin D will aid in how protected your skin is.
Note: When sitting out in the sun, try adding a good sun block around the eyes as the skin here is quite delicate and responds poorly to excess sun.

Oxidative damage: Although cardiovascular exercise is essential to health, excessive amount without the diet to support same, causes what is known as, free radical damage or (oxidative damage); other lifestyle factors like smoking causes a similar oxidative damage to skin which processes damaging free radicals, resulting in the skin to age much faster.
A healthy diet high in antioxidant rich foods, especially the green foods like spinach, kale and broccoli, are very useful nutrients used for maintaining youthful skin and fighting off these free radicals.

Omega 3 fats: If you find you have dry skin, this can be usually attributed to low levels of omega 3 fatty acids. Taking in up to 3 grams of a good quality Fish oil per day, will bring your omega 3 fatty acid ratios to a healthy level.
If you find you have slight damaged skin, adding pomegranate oil to the skin will increase the collagen make-up of the skin, giving it the ability to repair itself. Shea butter is another collagen stimulating nutrient you can use for your fine lines.

In relation to acne, most treatments are antibiotic based, these anti-bacterials target infections on the face and can be very useful but some of these medications have known health risks attached i.e. Accutane is known to cause birth defects, and these drugs don’t treat the underlying cause just the symptoms, which is important to note.

Here are some strategies we use in helping with the causes of acne:

If you are prone to acne, lowering your levels of insulin raising foods such as refined carbohydrates, high grain and wheat products, sugary snacks is a must. These foods cause growth factors to increase, these growth factors will further exacerbate your acne symptoms. By lowering your intake of the aforementioned foods, you will lessen the impact on your skin along with the added benefit of lower body fat. Increasing your vegetable intake until your symptoms are under control will prove most beneficial.

If you have been given antibiotics, remember to take a good probiotic which help reestablish the good bacteria in your gut which will again aid in, not only your skin health, but also your overall energy and relieving that bloated feeling.
Vitamin D also helps establish a healthy immune system, this causes an increase in your bodies own ability to fight of infections and bad bacteria.

If you would like to talk to one of our staff members on how to improve your skin through diet and exercise, contact info@thedgeclontarf.com.

Weight training for children and teens

Over the past number of years since weight training has become popular, there has been a divide on whether it’s healthy or not for children to partake in resistance training.

Pre-Puberty weight training/resistance training

Heavy Lifting can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and growth plates, especially when proper technique is sacrificed, in favour of lifting larger amounts of weight says Edward Laskowski M.D, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota.

In that case it would make much more sense to, instead, focus on a specific strength training program for a child, rather than focusing on anything remotely connected to weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. These specialised types of training can be implemented when a child has reached puberty and the body has developed a reasonable level of strength.

Is it safe for children to weight train?

According to both the American College of sports medicine(ACSM) and the National strength and conditioning Association (NSCA) pre-pubescent children can safely engage in resistance training, with certain limitations;

* They should be mature enough to respond to coaching advice.

* Weight training should only form part of their exercise regime, other sports and activities should also be included.

* They should avoid maximal lifts opting for more reps with a lighter weight.

* Perfect technique and supervised at all times.

There are many different benefits to your child partaking in weight/resistance exercise.

* Increased Muscle, strength and endurance.

* Sports performance improvement.

* Better cardio respiratory function

* Help to protect the child’s muscles and joints from injury associated with other activities.

* Stronger bones

If you would like to speak to us about strength training for your children or teens, give us a shout on 01 8534091 or email info@theedgegym.ie.

Tired of being tired?

What are Branch Chain Amino Acids( BCAA’s)?

When protein from food gets broken down in the body it gets turned into Amino Acids. These Aminos are the only substance that the body uses for muscle repair and growth. In addition to repair and growth they have been shown to delay fatigue, support mental focus and even boost fat loss!

We can also take Aminos in shake from called BCAA’s and are extremely easy to get into your system pre-training.

So when is the best time to take Aminos?

Studies have shown that the best time to take amino acids is 30-45 minutes pre training. Not only to they Act as a direct energy source for the muscle during your workout but when your workout is over they have been shown to help build muscle.

Each time you take BCAA you should go with a dosage of around 5-10 grams and should be taken in and around your workout.

Result! SO if you want to have more energy, increase your training drive and have decreased soreness in the days after you train, why not give our new Amino Acids a go?!

Raspberry: https://www.theedgeclontarf.com/product/amino-fuel-raspberry/

Apple: https://www.theedgeclontarf.com/product/amino-fuel-green-apple/

 

Group Fitness Classes at The Edge: Clontarf

Motivation:

Group fitness classes are a great way to kick yourself into gear on those days when all you really want to do is plant yourself on the couch. From  enthusiastic personal trainers to some fresh, pumping, motivational music, group classes can really help increase energy levels. Group classes are ideal for individuals who consistently find themselves skipping the gym for beers with co-workers or opting for the comfort of the couch and Netflix. You really do start to feel more obliged to attend and to spend your time with a group of like-minded people.

Accountability:

Skipping your own workout has very few consequences, but ditching your friends or co-workers may lead to some social animosity. Meeting friends for a sweaty gym session makes you much more likely to head to the gym as you don’t want to let them down. The guilts set in quite easily and your colleagues at the gym do want to see you at each class. you become part of a little team and you find that everyone wants each other to succeed.

Variety:

Doing the same old routine over and over can get a little boring and may lead to you skipping workouts. Our classes change regularly every couple of weeks so the maximum times you’ll do one program is four and this is only to track improvement and progress. We vary exercises, tempos, reps, sets and program structures to keep them fun and interesting as well as being challenging. As instructors usually vary from session to session, even an “identical” class can seem unique depending on who’s teaching.

For further info on our classes, or indeed to pop in for an initial consultation, email info@theedgelontarf.com or call 01 8534091.

New Supplement- Amino Fuel

We are delighted to present our brand new supplement Amino Fuel to our little family of supplements. These will be part of our extended Performance range which includes a new Magnesium synergy too.

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Our Amino Fuel comes in two flavours- Green Apple and Raspberry Lemonade. This is a branched chain amino acid formula with added essential amino acids, with the following benefits:

-Decreases muscle breakdown

-Builds lean muscle tissue

-Increases training focus

-Aids muscle recovery

Price: 40e

At the moment these supplements are only available in the gym but will soon be available for purchase online.

Indeed if you’d like to purchase these online you can do so over the phone and we can take your details and send out your package that day!

Call 853 4091 or email info@theedgegym.ie for further details.

Louise McCagh- #MyFitness

How did you get into fitness?

I have always had a huge passion for sports and fitness. As a child I was a complete tomboy and played all kind of sports. I decided I wanted to make my passion a career so I studied hard and went on to receive a degree in Sport and Exercise Science. During the course I had two excellent placements with NADA (The National Athlete Development Academy) and the Sport Psychology Department at the University of Limerick, during these placements I found it was my one on one sessions with athletes that I enjoyed the most. This is what led me to pursue a career in personal training which I am currently doing at The Edge:Clontarf and absolutely loving it.

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What kind of sports do you enjoy and why?

I have always been an extremely competitive person. As a child I played every sport around from GAA to gymnastics to basketball and dancing but the one I always enjoyed most was Tae kwon –Do . When I started to compete a little more seriously and my training increased all other sports fell by the wayside bar a bit of club level camogie. Any fighting sport I love really I have also tried my hand at boxing , muay thai , kickboxing and MMA  I love the adrenaline that comes with the sport . Fighting sports are very demanding both physically and mentally and are great for building character. I also love the opportunities to travel and meet new people that come with the sport. I have visited Argentina, New Zealand, Slovenia, Finland and many others but my favourite has to be Spain as it was there I won the World championships.

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What are your tips for women who might be afraid to lift weights?

I often hear of women being afraid to lift weights. This is generally for two reasons:

1)      The common misconception that lifting weights will make them bulky/manly

Women do not have the same hormonal make up as men . Men have much higher levels of testosterone which enable them to put on muscle mass and size. For a woman to put on size in this way is near to impossible to do naturally. Lifting weights is much more likely to give women that toned lean figure the majority of us desire. Lifting weights is the most effective method of burning fat, the more muscle you have the more calories that are expended and it also increases your metabolism and allows you to burn calories after exercise as well as during. It is a great way to improve sleep, stress levels and bone health something many women suffer with as they age.

2)      They find weights intimidating/Don’t know what they are doing

 If your are new to lifting weight I would recommend hiring a good personal trainer who can teach you to weight train the safe and correct way. Walking into a male dominated weights room can be quite daunting for anyone but in reality people are too focused on their own workouts to notice you and fortunately women training weight is becoming much more commonplace.

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What are your favourite exercises to do yourself in the gym?

My gym program varies depending in which stage of the competition season I am in. At the moment I am really loving chin ups, squats and Olympic lifts. Can’t beat a good abs finisher either!

What tips do you have for clients looking to stay motivated?

  • Be accountable to someone whether that’s a friend, trainer or coach. It’s always good to have someone to keep you on track and push you .
  • Set goals so you have something to aim for in the short medium and long term
  • Record and track all your sessions to monitor , evaluate and progress

What do you love most about your job?

It would have to be seeing peoples delight at getting results and seeing people achieve what they thought was not possible.

What are your goals for 2016 in terms of strength, health and fitness?

My main aims this year are gold at the European championships in April and the World cup in October and to increase strength and explosiveness.

I always set short medium and long term goals and which cover tactical, technical, mental and physical goals in relation to my Sport. Tactical would include things such as using ring space, feints etc, technical would be specific techniques I feel I need to improve, mental would be all the psychological side of things such as visualisation, imagery and dealing with nerves and then physical would be subdivided in to sections such as strength, speed, explosiveness as well as the likes of recovery etc.

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 If you’d like to speak to Louise and meet for a free personal training consultation, email info@theedgegym.ie with the subject line : LOUISE.

Pre and Post Workout Stretching

Pre and Post Stretching
Here at the Edge we encourage all of our clients to stretch or rather mobilize before they train. In fact, we recommend all our clients to come in at least 10 minutes before to get ready for the for their session ahead but why do we do this, exactly?

Pre Training
, we are looking to excite your nervous system, preparing your muscles and your mind for exercise. Research suggests that static stretching does little to increase flexibility or prevent injuries  because cold muscles are more susceptible to injury. A better choice is to begin your workouts with some dynamic stretching. With Dynamic or Active stretching, you should choose 4 or 5 movements that help get you ready for your workout.

dynamic-stretching

Post Workout Stretches
We can appreciate that after your workout, the last thing you want to do is wait around the gym and stretch, but it’s vitally important to aid in your recovery. Research suggests that static stretches are a great way to cool down after a training session so when your workout is complete you should take at least 5 minutes out to cool down and static stretch. Stretching after a workout can also help increase your range of motion. Greater range of motion, when working out, can help with fat burning and body composition so its a win win situation!

Static Stretching
**Our tip is to choose 2 or 3 stretches that are specific to your body needs and work through them slowly** If in any doubt, speak to one of our trainers about the best stretches for your individual needs.

How to stay competition ready for your sport

Here at The Edge we have a few simple guidelines that will help athletes who are looking to compete in competition on a regular basis.

Firstly it is important to never stop training between events. If we do so, it will lead to us becoming rusty and losing the conditioning needed to compete in our preferred sport. The training does not have to be as intense as in competition training as this could lead to burning out the body,  but instead focusing moreso on improving technique and staying ‘ready’. This will help you get back to competition training rather than coming off of a break from training altogether.
Nutrition plays a hugely important role if we want to compete regularly. The foods and supplements that we put in our body is what gives us the energy to train and that helps us recover after training. If we don’t give our body the nutrients needed and are training at a high level how do we expect ourselves to have the right energy to train to our full potential.

Treat food like fuel for your body, you wouldn’t put bad fuel in your car so don’t put bad fuel in your body. Sticking with a healthy diet will also allow athletes to stay on weight if they compete in certain weight classes such as weight lifting or combat sports.

Keeping our body in good physical condition is a key factor so we can prevent injury therefore allowing us to compete not just more regularly but have a longer career in our sport. Countless athletes have had their careers ended due to injury. Hard training takes a toll on our bodies, our muscles become tight and this leads to pulling and tearing muscles if not worse. A few ways to prevent this is by foam rolling and stretching before and after training, doing mobility exercises and getting regular deep tissue massages.
Over-training is a huge problem in sports these days especially with younger eager athletes. Its important to know our bodies limits and without the proper rest how do we expect our bodies to be able to recover and compete at its top level. The ways we can get the proper recovery needed is to make sure we have at least one rest day a week, that we are not always training at the highest intensity and, most importantly, to get a full nights sleep consisting of eight uninterrupted hours.
For more information or help with athletes who are looking to keep their bodies in top condition and ready to compete, please call 8534091 or email info@theedgegym.ie.

Top tips on how to get a six pack!

Body fat – In order for your abdominal muscles to show you need to have a body fat percentage of approximately 10 per cent or less for men and 14 percent or less for women. This varies from person to person and depends on the level of definition you wish to see. Even if you have strong abdominal muscles, if they are covered by abdominal fat you will never have a ‘6 pack.’

Diet-To reduce body fat and reveal abs, exercise needs to be paired with a smart diet. Take in lots of high quality protein , vegetables ,fruit, beneficial fats and plenty of other nutrient dense foods.

Low carbohydrate diets are recommended when trying to lose fat as when the body has no more carbohydrates to burn it starts to burn fat. This being said carbohydrate should not be eliminated from the diet but it is better to time carb intake pre and post workout to fuel muscles and replace glycogen stores.Low Glycaemic index carbs are best as they are easier to digest and slower release such as green veg, quinoa and buckwheat.
Strength training -is one of the most effective ways to reveal abs, focusing on the classic lifts such as the squat  and deadlift. Also think, lunges, press ups and chin ups and Olympic lifts. These lifts allow you to train with heavier weights which overload the musculature and cause the biggest adaptations. The abdominal muscles are primarily composed of fast twitch fibres and so respond very well to this type of training with heavy loads and lower reps.
HIIT – High intensity interval training such as sprints is one of the best methods to accelerate fat loss. It increases metabolism, reduces inflammation and improves the body’s ability to use and burn energy.
Alcohol- should be avoided when trying to lose body fat as it severely lowers the body’s fat oxidation rates. It also makes you eat more and make poor food choices.
Sleep –An inadequate amount of sleep causes the body to release a stress hormone called cortisol. This hormone promotes fat storage particularly around the abdomen making it hard to lose the layer of fat covering the abdominal muscles.
Stress management -As well as lack of sleep cortisol is also produced from physical or mental stress. Try to manage everyday ‘stressors’ with an all round approach encompassing nutrition, sleep ,deep breathing prioritisation and a positive mental attitude.
Tension/Breathing –When you perform an abdominal exercise tense when you reach the finish position  (imagine you are about to be punched!) hold this for a second or two to maximise muscle-fiber involvement. This engages the abdominal muscles and increases the force of the contraction leading to greater muscular overload and adaption.

 

If you are interested in leaning or building mass without the extra body fat, why not give us a call now on 8534091 or email info@theedgegym.ie

Healthy snacks for clean eating

One of the most frequently asked questions our trainers are asked by their clients is usually around what they can eat in between meals.

We would typically recommend 5-6 moderate meals,  so that should look something like Breakfast, snack, Lunch, snack, Dinner, snack.

To keep guess-work out of the game, below are a few handy snacks to have with you on the go, which help curb sugar cravings and keep your energy levels stable.
1. Nut butter with celery sticks. Apply 1 teaspoon of a nut butter of your choice to the centre groove of a celery stick.
2. Celery sticks and goats cheese
3. Hard boiled eggs and Brazil nuts.
4. Protein shake and Cashew nuts.
5. Beef or turkey burger patties.
6. Nut butter spread onto Rice cakes- a super pre or post workout snack.
7. Branch chain amino acid (BCAA)drink.
8. Almond nut butter and an apple. With nut and nut butter intake try and prioritise your almond butter to later in the evening/post workout due to its high magnesium levels, it will help relax you before bed time.
9. Greek yogurt and blueberries.

We hope these may help you if you become a little stuck for ideas on snacks.  And, as always if you have any questions on any of the above snack ideas  or whether or not they are suitable for your personal goals, you can contact us on 01-8534091 or by email at info@theedgegym.ie

Training during Pregnancy

A study by Evenson et al. (2008) found that pregnant women cited the same reasons for avoiding exercise as non-pregnant women; lack of time, too busy, lack of energy and tiredness were the top four.

Sound familiar?
Well, a nationwide study in America found that 98% of women who did participate in exercise during pregnancy found it to be beneficial. They felt better about themselves, they had more energy and they also reported less lower back pain.

So, is there any reason women should avoid exercise when pregnant and healthy?
Absolutely not, moderate weight training and cardiovascular exercise is highly recommended for pregnant women by leading physicians worldwide. The American College of Sports Medicine recommend at least 30 minutes of light exercise a day, or ideally 20-60 minutes of moderate exercise 3 to 5 days a week.

So what are the benefits?
Improving wellbeing and energy
Reducing stress and improving sleep quality
Make labour easier
Relieving back pain
Prevent excess weight gain
Prevent joint damage
Avoiding health issues associated with pregnancy including gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy due to the bodies’ inability to produce enough insulin to breakdown sugar. This is due to the interference of hormones produced during pregnancy that act against insulin. This can have knock on effects to the developing baby. Exercise is an effective way to combat this problem as it can help to regulate blood sugar levels.

 
So, not only is it ok to train during pregnancy, it is actually recommended and can significantly improve your quality of life and your babies health when carried out properly. Our personal trainers at The Edge: Clontarf can help to get you exercising appropriately during pregnancy so you can see these benefits in your life too. Email info@theedgegym.ie for further details or to book yourself in for a free, no obligations consultation.

Muscle burns fat- even at rest!

Muscle burns fat while you’re doing absolutely nothing…

Think about that for a second…

If you want really to lose body fat quickly, by all means focus on a fat burning program.
If you want to set your body up to have a higher resting metabolism and burn passively on a regular basis however, condition your body for strength training, and exercise regularly.

The Edge:Clontarf programs are are a combination of strength training and bodyweight exercisesm some of which you can do anywhere  you want to, without the need for equipment.

There are many ways to build muscle without weights, but at some point, if you really want to focus on building leaner muscle tissue for a more toned look, you will need to add extra resistance or get creative at home!

Our personal trainers can guide you on this journey to ensure what you do outside the gym in terms of physical exercise and nutrition compliments your time with them to help you reach your own personal goals!

Weight loss v Fat Loss

Body weight is used by the majority of people as an indicator of fitness progress. When people try to change their physique and don’t see the figures dropping off the weighing scales each week, they tend to get a little discouraged,  even if they feel progress with their actual workouts or in the mirror.
This is a serious flaw in thinking that they must be losing weight in order to change their body composition. People often forget about the fact that muscle, fat, bone, and water all play an important part in what number they see on the scale each week.
Body weight is about so much more than just ‘fat’.
Based on your fitness level, your weight comes from a combination of muscle, fat, water, bone and organs, tissue etc… Losing water weight can lead to the appearance of losing fat, but in reality, body fat % is the only reliable way of telling your real improvement in terms of health and fitness – so the scales can take the back seat for today.
Make sure never to confuse “weight loss” with “fat loss” meaning that if you’re building muscle at the same time, you may actually gain ‘weight’ but look and feel a lot leaner in reality. This is “recomposition,” and requires slightly more complicated measurements to accurately assess your fitness (like body fat %).
So please, please, please, trust us when you start on your new journey of health and fitness. Let us take care of the measurements while you continue the hard work and dedication in the kitchen, at home, and when out and about with friends or family.

If you would like to learn more about your own body fat percentage, why not pop into our gym and speak to one of our trainers today. Call 8534091 to make your first consultation, with no obligation.

Couch to 5k training plan and tips

SO like many of us, it can be tough to make the decision to take on a race and, particularly for beginners, the thought of the hard graft ahead isn’t all so pleasant!

Here are out top tips on how to nail your couch to 5k like a pro!

1. Set goals- always give yourself within which you want to finish the race. Give yourself a secondary time too, so are realistic about getting across the finish line regardless.

2. Reduce your chance of injury and blisters- wear good comfortable running shoes. You can get your gait checked in most reasonable sports shops now so it’s worth the investment in the long term!

3. Make exercise a part of your every day life- get off the bus one stop earlier, take the stairs, add some extra sit-ups or crunches to your weight training session and try and get out for a brisk walk, even if the weather doesn’t always act in your favour

4. Start as you mean to go on- start by incorporating little light jogs with fast walking and increase the ration of jogging until you can comfortably run for 30 minutes. This is different for everyone but you will improve within days- it’s very rewarding too!

5. Change your training route- like everything, the straight path in front of you can get very boring- mix it up- run on the beach, run in the park, run along the sea, in the forest, on the street. It will improve your fitness and strength and will give your body extra challenges to deal with, depending on the terrain.

6. Do not overtrain- let your body recover and remember that a rest day is always part of the program too!

7. Aim for quality and not quantity with your runs- if you feel tired after an illness or have had a very stressful week, people respond differently- don’t push yourself too hard but find a balance that works for you.

8. Invest in some good running gear- Ireland is not known for it’s balmy evenings, so it’s worth investing in some wet gear or at least a running jacket to keep you comfortable and dry!

9. Keep up your strength training sessions- remember to incorporate at least two good strength training session per week to keep your body and mind focused, strong and confident.

10. Grab a buddy- why not take this opportunity to grab a buddy and get them involved with your training- that way you are more likely to stick to your plan and nail your goals!

Why not speak to one of our trainers about how they can supplement your running program with HIIT, strength and conditioning days.