There are a few important principles to remember when trying to keep fit and stay in shape. We all want to look and feel good, but it is more complex than that if we think of ‘Functional Training’. This simply means training for your function, but many do not consider this when exercising. The way we move and strengthen out bodies should be relevant to the way in which we use our bodies in normal life. Think of the action of repetitive push ups. They may seem to be constructive since they give the appearance of big strong arm muscles, that actual movement never occurs in real life, so the workout is less helpful than it could be. The problem is, people work the muscles they can see, and do not condition all the muscles to their full potential. Rugby players for example often get injured since they train in a non-functional way and the muscles are not prepared for the way in which they are used beyond the gym. Gary Gray developed the theory of Functional Training and it is a fascinating area of fitness research.
In order to really make a change to your body for the better, first become aware of your actual goals and those differ for all. A desire to lose weight, tone up and achieve a long and lean physique are common workout motivations, but others may be trying to build muscle, increase flexibility or recover after a strain/injury among other reasons. Therefore a ‘one size fits all’ workout plan is not possible, but here I can offer advice on workouts I have tried and think make a difference, and of course, recipes that go hand in hand with a fitness plan. We should also eat for our function too – a sprinter should eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates for energy, whereas a bodybuilder should eat a diet rich in protein to build their muscle and low in sugar, forcing the body to use its fat for energy rather than any muscle tissue.
Yesterday, Roger and I did a full body workout, starting with a warmup of jumps, then jumps cris-crossing the feet, then running on the spot and burpees. This increases the heart rate and prevents injury during the workout. That was followed by dynamic stretches targeting the hamstrings, erector spine and chest, since these are areas that most people are very tight. Then we targeted big muscles groups including the quads and glutes by doing directional lunges & squats, which are great exercises to assist in fat burning. We also included rotation & extension exercises with the exercise ball. These help encourage good posture and also elongate the spine. They also help prevent lower back pain. It is important to cool down at the end of a workout and we did this with static stretches.
Certain foods are accredited with being healers and re-juvinators – we have come to know them as ‘Superfoods’. They are high in anti-oxidents, rich in nutrients and even sometimes good fats as well. The avocado is a leader among this super healthy group. Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C,K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. One globe contains more than one-third daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.
There are many recipes I will post using avocados, but here is one that I made for our post workout lunch.
Chargrilled Salmon and Avocado Salsa -
Juice of 1 lime
1 handful of coriander, chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 Salmon fillets
To make the salsa –
-Cut the avocado into small cubes
-Squeeze over the juice of one lime, which will stop the avocado going brown and is also an antioxident
-Mix with the finely chopped red onion and the chopped corriander
Simply grill the salmon for 6-8 mins per side depending on how thick the fillet is. When the fish flakes easily, you know it is ready.
Serve with slices of lemon and season to taste.
Salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin-D and selenium. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, and we need them for good health, but our body cannot make them so we need them from sources such as salmon. They play a role in brian function, normal growth and can help prevent eye and heart disorders. This simple, quick and delicious, and very very good for you.
Another Superfood which is a great accompaniment to the salmon and avocado salsa is my –
Spicy Quinoa Salad
1 cup of quinoa, with twice the amount of cold water in a pan
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 handful of coriander, chopped
1 handful of mint, finely chopped
1 handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 red onion finely copped
1 large tomato, finely chopped
olive oil to dress
-Rinse the quinoa well, then bring the quinoa to the boil then cover and simmer for ten minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.
-Combine all the other in a large bowl, and when the quinoa has cooled slightly, add it to the mixture
-Dress with a little olive oil and garnish with more fresh coriander leaves
Quinoa is an ancient grain and a super complex carbohydrate source. It is gluten free and packed with hytonutrients, antioxidants and can help balance your blood sugar. It is also full of protein, fibre and a very versatile ingredient for healthy recipes which I will be adding to EmmaMcQueen.com soon.