Specialty Bars

Dead-Lift Bar

The dead-lift bar is only for dead-lifting! It is longer than your normal bars but is thinner in diameter, weighing in 20KG. Due to it being thin, you can wrap your whole palm around the bar, giving you a stronger grip. This bar is more flexible, which enables you to get into the optimal starting position by pulling the “slack” out of it. The flex in the bar will help with moving heavy loads off the ground faster and a shorter range of motion from floor to lockout. Given its name, please note that this bar should not be used for squatting or benching at any given time.

Squat Bar

The Squat bar is specialised for heavy squatting. It is longer in length and thicker in diameter. This allows the bar to stay rigid when there is a lot of weight loaded on it, preventing it from bending too much which can affect the quality of the squat. Be mindful when loading your weights as it weighs 25KG, which is heavier than your typical barbell.

Power Bar

The power bar is considered the universal bar. It is commonly used for squatting, benching and deadlifting in the sport of powerlifting. The bar weighs 20KG, it is rigid, stiff and can withstand a lot of weight on it.

Safety Squat Bar

When squatting with the safety squat bar, your spine position will be more vertical. It looks more like a front squat or a high-bar back squat. This positioning minimizes shear forces on the lower back and allows for improved range of motion through the hips, knees, and ankles. The Dukes safety squat bar weighs 16KG.

The Easy Way to Stay On Track This Holiday Season

The Easy Way to Stay On Track This Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us, which means we should all focus on drinks, food and being merry! If there is one take away that you should get from this article, it is this – IT’S CHRISTMAS, HAVE FUN! In this article, we are going to focus on a few strategies and principles that will allow you to enjoy your Christmas feasts, rather than tracking every item and its’ calories.

FOOD

Strategy #1

Limit your Christmas lunch to just lunch. It’s easy to get into that mindset of indulging in three big meals which will be the cause of weight gain! Instead of having a big breakfast, lunch and dinner just because it’s Christmas it is important to pace yourself if you are expecting to consume a lot of food. Limit the blow out to one meal and you’ll thank yourself the next day.

Strategy #2

Load up on your vegetables! Not only are they delicious, they are also packed with nutrients and are high in volume, meaning you will feel fuller quicker, helping you avoid more calorie intensive foods like egg nog and stuffing.

PRO TIP –

It is not the one big Christmas lunch you have at Mums that is going to ruin your fitness routine. It is carrying that lunch into dinner and you eating badly for the next few days and getting off track with training! So keep it simple, enjoy the big meal but don’t delay getting back on track.

 

DRINKS

Strategy #1

When it comes to non-alcoholic drinks, it is best to not waste your calories on soft drinks as most of the calories come from sugar. Unless you’re planning to engage in some intense competitive sports after lunch, you’ll be storing all that sugar as excess fat. You’re better off eating real food which contains good nutritional content, rather than sugary drinks.

Strategy #2

If you’re planning to hit the town and have a few drinks, stick with vodka soda waters! If you need to add some flavour, add another shot of vodka or slice of lime. Clear spirits are less likely to leave you with a debilitating hangover the next day. By restricting yourself to soda water, you’re also saving your body from all the sugar and artificial sweeteners.

PRO TIP –

There are 970 calories in 10 vodka lime and sodas. A big mac meal contains 1155 calories (big mac – 565 cals, large fries 366 cals and large coke 224 cals). You can halve the number of calories in a night out just by skipping the late night binge!

 

Now go forth armed with this new found knowledge, and drink and be merry! 🎅🎅🎅

 

Stop Believing These Training Myths (2019)

During busy study and work, fitness has become a major choice for most people to relieve stress and enjoy life. While, especially for beginners,with so many training myths flooding all around, how to properly and effectively exercise has become a common concern for many people.

To help you out, we have summarized some training myths which you should stop believing in.

Myth #1: Strength training makes females bulky.

The theory:

Strength training makes you gain more muscle and looks bulky.

Reality:

Because of the low testosterone, it is difficult for women to get significant changes from strength training compared to men.

Instead, strength exercises can help you lose weight better.

Because of density, muscles take up less space on your body than fat. Under the same weight, people with more muscle will look more curved and slimmer.

Myth #2: Muscle sore means you have a good workout.

The theory:

Soreness from muscle indicates a good exercise of muscle.

Reality:

Fitness people are always wondering if they do a good and efficient workout or not and some of them will define it by using the soreness level of muscle.

BUT, this is not correct.

During fitness, there is one type of soreness which is normal. The delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) for beginners. Since their muscles are not used to exercises, after the first time training, it is normal to feel soreness. But the soreness of the pain will decrease over time and should not occur after the body has adapted to the intensity of the training.

If your body still feels sore after training, there are two possibilities for a high probability. One is that your training intensity is too high, not suitable for continued use at this stage; the second is that your stretching exercise after training is not done or enough.

In all, you need to adjust your training to your personal condition and with targeted stretching exercises.

Myth #3: Cardio is the best way to lose weight.

The theory:

Cardio is for losing weight to get lean and strength training is for gaining muscle, so in order to lose weight, you should only do cardio exercises

Reality:

Doing cardio is one way to lose weight but only doing cardio is not the best way.

For fitness people whose main purpose is to lose weight, long-term, high-intensity aerobic training may help you achieve your goals, but this is not the best option.

In the long run, the best way is to improve your body composition and make your body difficult to accumulate fat.

Strength training can help you do it!

When your body has more lean muscles through strength training, you will have more muscle groups to help you burn calories while you are exercising; in rest, your body will automatically consume more energy to maintain muscle groups. .

Therefore, the right combination of aerobic training and strength training, combined with a balanced diet plan is the best choice.

“Muscle is metabolically active.”

Adam Rosante, C.S.C.S., author of The 30-Second Body.

Myth #4: You can spot certain body part to lose fat.

The theory:

You can choose certain body parts, such as abs, hip and arms, to lose fat.

Reality:

Spotting your fat is not real.

Fat cells distribute every part of your body. Reducing overall body fat through persistent calorie deficiency is the only way to reduce localized fat.

Myth #5: Sweating more to make a good workout.

The theory:

Sweating means burning fat effectively. More sweating indicates better workout.

Reality:

The body’s sweating system is the “air conditioning” in our body. The main function is to regulate the body temperature.

During exercise, our body will maintain temperature and dissipate heat by sweating as the core temperature rises.

If your goal is to lose weight, a lot of sweating means more loss of water in the body, rather than a lot of fat burning. Your body may lose weight briefly after the end of exercise, but when you add enough water, the weight will return.

Myth #6: Females should choose lighter weight with higher reps.

The theory:

Heavy weights is for males, lighter weights can prevent females from being manly.

Reality:

Many people think that higher reps with lighter weight exercises can consume more fat and “tone” your muscle for not being manly.

In fact, the key to losing fat is that the calories you eat are lower than the calories burned. Exercise is a way to help consume fat outside the diet and the increase in muscle is also for consuming more fat.

In order to stimulate the muscles better, you should choose to use a variety range of weights with flexible reps based on your own fitness condition and increase over time.

Myth #7: Muscle turns into fat if you stop training.

The theory:

You should keep training to maintain your muscle, otherwise it will turn into fat in your body.

Reality:

Your muscles don’t turn into fat, it just shrinks.

Muscle and fat are two completely different organic compounds. The idea that muscles turn into fat is as unrealistic as saying that metal will turn into glass.

There are many people who gain weight after stopping exercise, but this is not because their muscles have turned into fat. If their diet does not change and they no longer consume extra calories via exercising, there will be extra calories which will accumulate fat in the body.

Myth #8: Squatting is bad for knees.

The theory:

Squats put extra pressure on the knees.

Reality:

Squats will not put pressure on the knees, and the wrong squats will.

The key to squatting against stress on your knees is during the process, don’t let your knees go beyond your toes.

It may be difficult to keep your knees and toes consistent when you just start squatting. You can choose to do some modified squats, such as doing with some instruments (kettlebell) and then slowly try to do standard ones.

Myth #9: Cardio exercise works after 20mins.

The theory:

Every time you do cardio exercise, do it over 20 minutes to make it worth and effective.

Reality:

As long as you are exercising, you are consuming fat.

The only difference is the rate of fat consumption. At the very beginning of your exercise, 10 to 15 minutes, the fat consumption rate is low. After 15 to 20 minutes, the fat consumption rate will increase.

So for aerobic exercise, we recommend that you do more than 30 minutes for maximum effect, but this does not mean that 20 minutes of exercise is meaningless.

Myth #10: You should not hold your breath during lifting.

The theory:

The body’s internal circulation of oxygen is very important for exercise.

Reality:

Holding your breath is risky for some people with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. For those who do not have such diseases, as long as they are properly operated, it will be a good help for your strength training.

In strength training, holding in breath after breathing enough oxygen can increase chest pressure, open your core muscles, and improve your fitness.

The following are the basic principles of holding your breath in strength training:

  1. Inhale before each rep;
  2. Hold your breath during the most difficult part;
  3. Exhale slowly after the end.

Conclusion

In short, for any sport, don’t rely on a single one and don’t fully negate another.

Training myths won’t stop showing, don’t waste time on the wrong way of doing fitness.

When you are confused or uncertain, ask your personal trainer or the professionals you believe in.

Hope we are helpful.

Subscribe us to know more and be yourself a professional.

10 Diet Myths Everybody Should Know (2019)

Diet myths are popular suggestions whose influence are exaggerated and unconfirmed.

Losing weight is not an easy process where dieting stands at one of the most fundamental aspects. However, in this era with flooding information, are you tired of being fed up with those unchecked, unconfirmed suggestions?

For now, avoiding the following 10 popular diet myths will help you reach your desired outcome appropriately and efficiently.

Myth #1: Carbs are fattening, you need to avoid them to lose weight.

The Theory:

When the body ingests carbohydrates, it converts it into sugar and then stores it into fat.

Reality:

Carbohydrates won’t make you fat.

What makes you fat is the excess calories you consume, no matter which form you take, it may be carbohydrates, it may be protein or fat.

Some people around you may have lost weight through low-card diet or even no-carb, but this is only a short-term rapid weight loss, and the effect will be greatly reduced after 10-14 days.

But what you need to know is that carbohydrates are a very important part of your daily intake. Losing carbohydrates can cause you to have low blood sugar level, aggravation of fatigue, and a decline in sleep quality.

For better and smarter weight loss, you can’t refuse to consume carbohydrates, but you can choose the amount of intake and the type of carbohydrates. Choose to use some brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, less “white” carbohydrates and carbohydrates with added sugar.

Myth #2: “No fat” and “Low fat” foods won’t make you gain weight.

The Theory:

Fat is causing you fat. No fat food contains zero fat which won’t cause weight gain.

Reality:

“No Fat” or “Low Fat” labelled foods sometimes may contain extra sugars, extra salts or other adding ingredients which leads to the same level of calories, or even more.

To choose food for a healthier diet, check the nutrition table to know how much calories the food exactly has to see if it fit into your diet.

Myth #3: No chocolate for a healthy diet.

The Theory:

Chocolate contains a large amount of sugar which will be converted into fat in your body.

Reality:

Choosing the right type of chocolate and eating it in moderation will not affect your weight loss, and it may help you achieve your goals. Dark chocolate with a high cocoa concentration is a good choice (higher than 70%).

Theobromine in chocolate can promote the release of androgen in the brain which can make people happy; the caffeine in chocolate helps to break down fat and suppress appetite.

Dark chocolate with a higher cocoa concentration also contains more theobromine and caffeine at lower calories.

Myth #4: To lose weight, do not eat after 7pm/8pm.

The Theory:

Your system can burn up the food you eat earlier in the morning while it has no time to burn up the late-night meal which will stay in your body and converts into fat.

Reality:

Calorie intake is not affected by time.

Many people will eat too much or eat high-calorie foods at night, so they think nighttime food is a big reason for weight loss. 

For the digestive system, do not have a heavy meal before going to bed will make you healthier. But for losing weight, what you eat and how much you eat is most crucial.

Myth #5: Eat small meals frequently to boost your metabolism.

The Theory:

Consumption of food will increase the metabolism, a small amount of frequent eating will increase the active time of metabolism and then consume more calories.

Reality:

The increase in metabolism helps you grow your daily consumption, but the way food consumed does not affect metabolism.

In the case of the same amount of calories, eating one meal, two meals, three meals a day, or more times does not help the weight loss.

Building more muscles is the best way. At rest, each kilogram of muscle can consume several times more calories than fat; during exercise, each additional muscle in your body is an extra fat consumer to help you drop pounds.

Myth #6: Fat makes you fat.

The Theory:

Every fat you consume will directly transfer into fat in your body, so for losing weight, you need to avoid consuming fat.

Reality:

Fat is one of the six major nutrients the body needs which include protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, inorganic salts (minerals) and water. The first three will generate energy that supports human activity through metabolism.

Therefore, fat is a nutrient that the body must consume every day. Unhealthy fat and excessive intake can lead to obesity.

Which fats are healthy fats? Avocados, chia seeds, eggs, fish, nuts, and tofu are all healthy fats and recommended to use during weight loss period.

Myth #7: Protein is bad for your kidneys.

The Theory:

Nitrogen-containing wastes produced by metabolic proteins are mostly excreted in the urine by the kidneys. Therefore, high protein intake can cause the kidneys to operate at high loads, causing damage.

Reality:

Long-term protein intake has no effect on healthy people with no kidney problems.

Many people who want to lose weight or gain muscle will be concerned about protein intake, often by supplementing or directly eating protein powder to ensure adequate protein intake. The right amount of protein supplement is completely problem-free.

BUT! People with kidney disease or poor kidney function need to pay attention to protein intake.

Myth #8: Do your cardio with an empty stomach.

The Theory:

Fasted cardio exercise will cause a high proportion of fat consumption.

Reality:

Cardio in the fed and fasted stomach does not have a big difference. It is only about you to choose the most suitable way for your body. Do not just copy the way others do.

Here is what you need to think about.

First of all, if you choose high-intensity cardio exercise, such as HIIT, the lack of energy caused by fasting will directly affect your exercise effect; second, the appetite suppression effect after fasting exercise does not perform as well as exercise after eating. Hunger after fasting cardio workout can cause your body to consume more energy from eating afterwards.

Myth #9: You need to “Detox” your body.

The Theory:

Detox diets (clean diet) can help you to discharge the toxins accumulated in the body.

Reality:

Detox diets are not supported by any toxicological mechanisms or test evidence, and may even be dangerous and harmful to humans.

Our body itself has a detoxification system including your liver, kidneys, lungs and other organs. They operate around the clock to remove harmful substances and discharge metabolic waste. The extra detoxification method is highly likely to hinder the body’s natural detoxification process.

To help our body better detoxify naturally, what we can do is to develop good eating habits and work schedules.

Myth #10: Red meat is bad for you.

The Theory:

Red meat leads to cancer.

.

Reality:

The effect of red meat on carcinogenicity has been greatly exaggerated.

Red meat is classified as a Class 2A carcinogen which is “highly likely to cause cancer” and is not “certainly carcinogenic.”

In addition to being rich in essential amino acids, red meat is also an important source of iron and zinc and contains a large amount of B vitamins.

A balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle are the most important. The right amount of red meat can supplement the body with essential nutrients.

At the same time, we can improve the way of eating red meat, such as not eating too much fried, roasted red meat, try to steam and boil; and try to eat less processed meat (such as marinated, fermented, dried, smoked meat and other processed meat).

Conclusion

Whether it is for a healthier lifestyle or fat reduction, the 10 diet myths defined above are something you must know and avoid.

For people who want a healthier life, start with changing your eating habits and time.

For those who want to lose fat, just remember a central idea. Burn more energy per day than you consume.

We hope we are helpful.

Could Your Hormones be Impacting Your Results?

Could Your Hormones be Impacting Your Results?

Have you ever started a fitness journey and started to see some incredible results, only to hit a harsh plateau with no explanation? Or perhaps you’ve made all the changes required to prime your body for weight loss, yet no results? Believe it or not, your hormones play a significant role in either supporting and accelerating your goals, or hindering them. And the latter is much more common than you may realise.

 

So, the question must be asked: How much do you really understand about your hormones? What they do and how they influence your metabolism? The role they play in progressing or stunting your fat loss or muscle growth? Let’s be honest, the answer is most likely very few of us. So, let’s take a closer look at three key hormones that affect both men and women: Cortisol, Human Growth Hormone, and Thyroid Hormones.

 

But first, what on earth are hormones? According to the Hormone Health Network, hormones are chemical substances that act as messengers to signal reactions within your body to carry out functions to cells and/or tissues. As such, hormones impact many different processes in your body, including growth, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction and mood.

Cortisol

You don’t have to be a hormone expert to have heard of the word ‘cortisol’. Whether it’s through Facebook or media publications, ‘stress’ has become the hottest buzzword of this decade, and for a legitimate reason. Did you know – According to the World Health Organisation, stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century!

Yet, despite the negative rap it gets, cortisol is extremely important to survival and is certainly not as bad as it’s made out to be. Wondering why? Cortisol is essentially nature’s built-in alarm system and is best known for controlling your body’s fight or flight instinct. Cortisol works with parts of your brain to influence your mood, motivation, and fear.

 

But, what exactly is cortisol? Cortisol is a hormone (also known as the stress hormone), which is generally released during times of stress. However, cortisol is not only known for stress. As most of the cells in your body have cortisol receptors, it plays an important role in various functions (You and Your Hormones, 2019). As such, cortisol helps to:

  • Regulate your metabolism
  • Influence memory formation
  • Act as an anti-inflammatory
  • Control salt and water balance
  • Support the growth of a foetus during pregnancy

 

How does Cortisol work?

 

Your hypothalamus and pituitary gland (which are both located in your brain) can detect if the correct level of cortisol is in your brain. If the level is too high or low, your brain will generally make adjustments to the number of hormones it’s producing. As a result, your adrenal glands adapt and adjust the amount of cortisol they release, accordingly.

 

Likewise, your cortisol receptors may have different hormone requirements each day, meaning what and how they receive these hormones may vary daily. For example – If your body is highly stressed or perceives a threat, cortisol may adjust or stop other functions that interfere, such as your digestive or reproductive systems, your immune system, or even your growth processes.

 

What happens when you produce too much or too little Cortisol?

 

If your body is producing too much cortisol, you may experience the following symptoms¹:

  • Chronic conditions – ie high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis
  • Weight gain (particularly around the face and abdomen) – Cortisol increases appetite and sends signals to the body to store fat.
  • Mood swings – Generally shown as anxiety, depression or irritability
  • Impaired brain function – Cortisol interferes with memory, resulting in brain fog
  • Infections – When cortisol is high, it can impact and compromise your immune system, which makes you more susceptible to infection and illness.

 

If your body’s producing too little cortisol, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Ongoing tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss
  • Weakened muscles
  • Mood changes

 

Note: Without treatment, having too much or too little cortisol are potentially life-threatening conditions and should be treated immediately. If you suspect you fall into either of these categories, we urge you to seek medical attention.

 

Human Growth Hormone

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a small protein produced in part of the brain (known as the ‘pituitary gland’) every few hours and more frequently during sleep, particularly our non-REM sleep (Better Health Channel 2019). HGH is responsible for stimulating growth by travelling to all tissues in the body via the bloodstream.

But, how important is HGH? Well, to put it straight – A lack of HGH is suggested to cause slower growth in children and also hinder health and fitness progress for adults (Health Direct 2018). In fact, did you know that growth hormone plays an important role in influencing your height, and helping build your bones and muscles? When secreted, HGH is responsible for stimulating smaller protein hormones that help the following actions and reactions occur in the body:

  • The growth and/or maintenance of muscle and bone
  • Enhanced tissue repair and skin/injury healing
  • The breakdown of fatty acids in the adipose tissue to be used for ATP production
  • The regulation of glucose to be used as energy and reserved for times of shortage

There’s no denying that HGH is vital to your overall health and day-to-day functionality, and when it comes to reaching your health and fitness goals, it can either progress your results or hinder them. For instance, according to Better Health Channel, those with growth hormone deficiency may experience a variety of symptoms, including poor bone density, reduced muscle mass, fatigue, depression, poor memory, and increased body fat around the waist.

What can you do to promote the secretion of HGH? Try incorporating the following tips:

  • Get serious about your sleep – Non-rapid eye movement sleep, more commonly known as deep sleep, is important for secreting healthy levels of HGH. Try aim for 6-9 hours of sleep per night, if possible.
  • Prioritise exercise and lower stress – Try to minimise the amount of stress in your life, and incorporate more exercise to maintain healthy HGH levels (but not too much).
  • Keep an eye on other hormones – Other hormones may also play a role in stimulating HGH levels, including insulin, oestrogen, and cortisol. We recommend that you consult your health professional to assess your hormones, should you have concerns or queries.

Additionally, it’s important to be aware that sleep deprivation, a lack of protein and amino acids, an unhealthy amount of fatty acids in your diet, hypothyroidism and obesity can also decrease the production of HGH in your body.

If you’re looking for a fantastic amino acid supplement to enhance your intake of aminos, our go-to is Evolve Damage Control. Whether you want to boost muscle protein synthesis and prevent muscle breakdown or accelerate recovery and enhance performance, Damage Control contains the innovative PeptoPro formula and world-renowned Ajinomoto Aminos to bring you the ultimate full-spectrum EAA protein accelerator.

T4/T3 (Thyroid Hormones)

Ever heard of Triiodothyronine and Thyroxine? Despite what looks like random letters jumbled together, these two words are also known as T3 and T4 and are referred to as your thyroid hormones. Let’s take a closer look at how T3 and T4 work and how they can impact your results!

But first, what are they? To understand what T3 and T4 are, it’s important to first understand what the thyroid gland is. The thyroid gland is a small gland located in the front of your neck that is primarily responsible for taking iodine (which is found in various food sources) and converting it into the thyroid hormones: T4 and T3.

Once released into the bloodstream and transported throughout the body, T3 and T4 regulate and operate your metabolism, which as we know, is essentially the conversion of nutrients into energy.  Every cell in the body relies on thyroid hormones to regulate their metabolism. As such, ensuring a healthy balance is of utmost importance (Sargis 2018).

Hyperthyroidism – Hyperthyroidism is a condition whereby your thyroid gland produces too much T3 and T4, resulting in your metabolism working too fast, and thus, converting your nutrients into energy too fast. According to the Better Health Channel, hyperthyroidism can result in:

  • Excessive weight loss
  • Muscle depletion
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular menstrual cycle for women

Hypothyroidism – Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is much more common and essentially means your body isn’t producing enough T3 and T4, for various reasons (including iodine deficiency, or potentially an autoimmune disease). According to Healthy WA, Hypothyroidism can potentially result in the following symptoms:

  • Unexplainable weight gain
  • Fluid retention
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation

So, how can you help maintain the right T3 and T4 balance? Well, this is certainly a question for your health professional, as every person is unique and requires unique care. However, if your iodine levels are too low, that’s a great place to start. Try incorporating the following iodine-rich foods into your diet:

  • Tuna and salmon
  • Oysters and other shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Sea vegetables like seaweed, nori, kelp, etc.

 

Let’s recap: From unexplainable weight loss and weight gain, depression, ongoing fatigue, reduced muscle mass, poor memory and more, there’s no denying that a hormonal imbalance can have a detrimental impact on your ability to lose weight, gain muscle, muster up the motivation to make health a priority, and ultimately, reach your goals.

As hormones are vital to memory formation, muscle and bone growth, metabolism, tissue repair and more, it’s no secret that maintaining the right balance of hormones is the key to optimal health, functionality, and results. Just remember, everything we do affects our hormones, which in turn, affects everything we do. So, how much do you really know about your hormones? If you feel you may be struggling with any of the symptoms above, put your health first and visit your local healthcare professional for a checkup!

References:

 

Better Health Channel 2018, Growth Hormone, Better Health Vic, viewed 9 September 2019, <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/growth-hormone

 

Better Health Channel 2011, Thyroid – Hyperthyroidism, Better Health Channel, viewed on September 11 2019, <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/thyroid-hyperthyroidism>

Health Direct 2018, Human Growth Hormone, Health Direct, viewed on 6 September 2019,<https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/human-growth-hormone>

Hormone Health Network 2019, Your Health and Hormones, viewed 9 September 2019, <https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones>

 

Sargis, R 2018, How Your Thyroid Works, Endocrineweb, viewed on 10 September 2019, <https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/how-your-thyroid-works>

¹ Thorpe, M 2017, 11 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cortisol Levels, Healthline, viewed on 10 September 2019, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-lower-cortisol#section1>

 You and Your Hormones 2019, Cortisol, viewed 6 September 2019, <https://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/cortisol/

 

 

 

 

Delicious Choc Banana Mug Cake Recipe!

Delicious Choc Banana Mug Cake Recipe!

Choc Banana Mug Cake Recipe

 

You can have your cake and eat it too with Raimee Leigh’s and protein-packed Choc Banana Mug Cake recipe!

 

Whether you want to increase your protein intake, satisfy your sweet tooth, or simply have the best of both worlds, the Choc Banana Mug Cake calls on the benefits and deliciousness of Evolve Lipo Whey, cacao powder, almond milk, banana and more, to bring you a true taste bud sensation.

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 20g Evolve Lipo Whey Banana protein
  • 1/2 tsp of cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1 egg

Method:

  1. In a large mug, mix all ingredients together.
  2. Place in the microwave for one minute and then allow to rest for 30 seconds. Once complete, microwave for another 1 minute.
  3. Let rest and then top with your favourite toppings.

 

What is Evolve Lipo Whey?

 

Evolve Lipo Whey is the ideal protein source for those seeking the perfect weight management solution. This high-protein, low-fat formula is loaded with 32.4g of protein and only 2.6g of carbohydrates per serving. Lipo Whey contains fast, moderate and slow-digesting protein to facilitate muscle recovery, while helping to keep you satiated for longer. Whether you’re looking for a filling snack in between meals or a delicious flavour to curb your sweet tooth, look no further than Evolve Lipo Whey!

Keto Diet 101 – Everything you need to know about ketosis

Keto Diet 101 – Everything you need to know about ketosis

What is a keto diet?

The keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet that forces the body to utilise fats as the body’s primary fuel source instead of carbohydrates.

Typically, carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose and transported around the body. However, when little carbohydrates are consumed, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. These ketone bodies flow to the brain and replace glucose as your body’s main source of producing energy. A state of ketosis occurs when there is an elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood.

In order to reach a state of ketosis, your daily macronutrients would need to be divided into approximately 55 – 65% fat, 30 – 35% protein and 5 – 10% carbohydrates. The body will take approximately 7 days to enter ketosis phase.

Keto diets are also usually performed during a cut, as the low carb diet curbs your hunger, allowing you to better able to stick to your diet and shred off those extra pounds.

How to do a keto diet?

Types of keto diets

  • Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): High-fat (75%), moderate-protein (20%) and very low-carb (5%)

 

  • Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): Involves periods of higher-carb refeeds (e.g. 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days).

 

  • Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): Carbs are only consumed around your workouts.

 

  • High-protein ketogenic diet: Similar to a SKD, but includes more protein. Typically, the ratio is 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.

Cyclical and targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced methods and predominantly implemented by bodybuilders and athletes.

Advantages of a keto diet?

  1. Reduces your appetite

Protein and fat are more satiating than carbohydrates. Thus, replacing a large portion of your calories allocated towards carbs will curb your hunger allowing you to feel more satiated and prevent you from overeating.

  1. Reduces blood sugar and insulin levels

When you consume carbohydrates, the digestive system will break it down into sugar, which enters the bloodstream. As blood sugar rises, insulin is produced by the pancreas to allow cells to absorb the blood sugar for energy. However, keeping blood sugar levels constantly elevated can lead to hyperglycaemia where the body can no longer produce insulin or respond to it adequately. Thus, reducing carbohydrates will prevent the likelihood of contracting hyperglycaemia, which can damage vessels that supply blood to the vital organs, increasing the risk of heart disease and strokes.

Disadvantages of a keto diet?

  1. Keto flu

Some people feel sick when they start keto dieting causing them to vomit, feel extremely fatigued and lethargic. This occurs because the body is being depleted of sugar to burn for energy and is transitioning to begin using fat as energy.

Although the keto flu passes after a few days, the effects can be minimised by drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of sleep.

  1. Weight regain

Yes, the keto diet is strictly adhered to consistently will lead to weight loss due to the reduced appetite as mentioned above. However, because the keto diet is so restrictive, it is not considered a sustainable diet to follow in the long term by health experts. It is not uncommon for people to fall off the wagon and begin consuming carbs and regain most of the weight they lost relatively quickly.

Should you implement the keto diet?

Firstly, you have to decide what your fitness goals are. If you are bulking and looking to pack on mass, the keto diet may not be your best option as it will reduce your appetite. This makes it harder for you to consume sufficient calories needed for you to be in a caloric surplus, a necessity for muscle gain.

Lastly, are you able to stick to it long term? If you enjoy eating significantly more fats and don’t mind severely restricting your carbs, definitely give the keto diet a shot as you are able to stick to it consistently. However, if you don’t think you can stay on the keto diet for the long term, it’s best you stick to your typical diet as the possibility of you quitting and beginning to consume carbs again, leading to weight gain, is inevitable.

5 Stress Management Strategies for Improved Fat Loss

5 Stress Management Strategies for Improved Fat Loss

 

5 Stress Management Strategies for Improved Fat Loss

 

There’s no denying how prevalent stress is in today’s society. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, stress has been classified as the health epidemic of the 21st century. Whether it’s work-related stress, financial struggles, relationship troubles, or even physical stress placed on our body during an intense workout, it’s no secret that stress can present itself in many different forms!

 

Yet, contrary to popular belief, stress is not entirely bad. Stress is technically our most important survival mechanism… after all, it’s what helped keep our hunter-gatherer ancestors alive thousands of years ago. Likewise, in today’s day and age, stress is also extremely beneficial for helping us meet those work deadlines, train harder and lift heavier, and check the road before crossing for any potential threats. So, what’s the downside? In today’s society, most of us are struggling to find the ‘off button’ for stress, which is having a detrimental impact on our physical and mental health…and in many cases, our ability to lose weight!

 

First things first, how on earth does stress impact weight? During periods of heightened tension, the stress hormone, cortisol, rises. As a result of this, increased cortisol may also cause higher insulin levels and drop blood sugar, causing you to crave sugary and fatty foods. The result? Well, when we’re stressed, we’ll often eat the wrong types of food in excess!

 

With that in mind, here are our top five tips for stress management:

 

Tip 1: Exercise
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to combat stress, while simultaneously working on your physical health. As ironic as it might sound, putting physical stress on your body, by way of exercise, can relieve mental stress.

 

Did you know that people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety, as opposed to those who don’t exercise? And here’s why:

  • Sleep – Exercising regularly can help to improve the quality of your sleep, due to the way it physically exhausts your body. As stress and anxiety are known to negatively impact sleep quality, this can help to alleviate the symptoms.
  • Endorphins – Did you know that exercise helps to release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers? Additionally, exercise is also suggested to lower the body’s stress hormones over a prolonged period, including cortisol.
  • Confidence – Who doesn’t feel better after breaking a sweat? When you exercise regularly, you’re likely to feel more confident and comfortable in your skin, which ultimately enhances mental wellbeing and reduces stress.

 

Whether you’re new to exercise or a gym veteran, the best way to find a sustainable and enjoyable exercise routine is to base it around something you love. Love to run? Start your day with a morning jog. Love feeling refreshed? Try hitting the pool for a few laps. Not much into traditional sports? Why not join your local yoga or pilates class. Love strength training? Head to Dukes Gym!

 

 

Tip 2: Get your sleep right

When you’re experiencing stress, you’re more likely to lay awake at night restless and unable to get a good night’s sleep. However, the lack of sleep also causes stress, which means it’s a never-ending cycle. The cherry on top? When we lack sleep, we crave a quick source of energy, such as sugary treats, which often leads us further away from our health and fitness goals. Not to mention, a lack of sleep may also interfere with key appetite hormones, ghrelin and leptin.

 

So, how can you improve your stress by improving your sleep cycle?

  • Two to four hours before bed – Avoid any intense exercise that will make you alert and buzzing. Also, avoid large meals that will keep you up at night while your body works hard to digest everything.
  • One hour before bed – Reduce the amount of artificial light surrounding you by dimming your lights or putting a lamp on. Also, switch your screens to night mode. This will help to increase melatonin, which helps to get you into a sleepy state.
  • 30 minutes before bed – Switch off all electronic devices and screens. If you need your phone alarm for the morning, simply switch your phone to aeroplane mode to minimise any distractions that may disrupt your sleep!

 

 

Tip 3: Take time out for yourself

Do you often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget to take time out for yourself? Whether it’s the mental stresses associated with work deadlines and pressure, the physical stress of exercise, or the mental and physical stress of raising little ones, there are many reasons why we just sometimes don’t find the time to put ourselves first. However, the downside is, without our ‘me time’, our happiness, motivation, and potential for success greatly diminish.

 

When you subject yourself to extreme pressure and stress day-after-day, without taking time out to recuperate, you are not only preventing yourself from performing at your highest level, you’re also exposing yourself to a greater risk of illness and disease. Truth be told – your body will not perform or look the way we want it to if you’re constantly subjecting yourself to physical and mental stress. Not long after the mental symptoms kick in, the physical symptoms will start to show!

Try incorporating the following ‘me time’ tips into your weekly schedule:

  • Recovery time – Dedicate one day a week or a month to ‘recovery time’. This should be time spent relaxing and unwinding. For instance – Get a massage, go to the movies alone, read a book, listen to a podcast… whatever it is you love doing to unwind, make it a staple in your routine!
  • Learn new skills – We spend so much time bettering our skill set to progress in our careers, but how much time do we really spend improving our skills to better ourselves as people? For most of us, the answer will be: never. So, we urge you to find a skill you’d like to learn – whether it be photography, drawing, running, a language – and commit to it for six months. Never underestimate how important learning is and how much it can influence our mental health!
  • Change up your routine – It’s easy to become stagnant in your routine and your attitude when you do the same things at the same time every day. Whether it’s your workouts or your downtime, try switching things up to keep your routine fresh and exciting.

 

Tip 4: Run your own race

There’s no denying that social media is an extremely effective and beneficial tool for helping us to connect with new and old friends, discover new places to eat, and unwind while laughing at the never-ending stream of memes. However, in today’s society, the downside of social media is starting to outweigh the positives: It’s starting to replace one-on-one human interaction. I mean, let’s be real – receiving a like on Facebook or Instagram just isn’t the same as catching up with friends in real life. The enjoyment is fleeting!

 

Believe it or not, stress can present itself in several ways, and it’s not always just work, finance or relationship-related. More often than not, it stems from confidence and self-worth. As such, comparing your progress to what others post on social media can be very damaging. With the advent of Photoshop, FaceTune and Instagram filters, social media gives us an unrealistic expectation of how our lives should be, or, how underwhelming our gym progress might appear to be in comparison to your social media buddies.

 

However, in actual fact – seeing the progress of others should inspire you, not demotivate or irritate you. If social media is having a negative effect on you, switch off and focus on your own progress…after all, everyone is running their own race and it’s probably time you did the same. Better still, those 30 minutes you spent scrolling aimlessly through your feed could’ve been much better spent working towards your goals, meditating, reading or just simply unwinding.

 

 

 Tip 5: Incorporate supplements

Do you feel like you’ve tried just about everything and are still unable to reduce the stress from your life? Perhaps it’s time to call on the help of a friend. Yep, we’re talking about supplementation!

 

If you’re looking for the right solution to enhance energy, improve wellness and reduce stress, it’s important to find one that won’t leave you feeling scattered and run down once it wears off. So, what do we recommend? * drum roll * Project U Vitality!

 

Just like all things in life, maintaining optimal vitality requires ongoing maintenance of your internal health. Thanks to Project U Vitality, ensuring your body has all the goodness required to boost your brain functionality and overall health, just got that much easier.

 

So, what can you expect from this formula?

Simply put, Vitality is designed to stimulate brain function, support gut health, boost energy, enhance mood and lower cortisol!

 

Project U Vitality contains Apple Cider Vinegar to aid digestion, support gut health and act as a natural antibacterial and antioxidant. As well as Lemon Balm to also support digestive health and to help increase GABA in the body, which may have a calming effect strong enough to help lower cortisol levels and reduce anxiety. Additionally, Moringa Leaf Powder is rich in antioxidant properties and natural anti-inflammatory benefits, and Reishi Mushrooms boast powerful immune-boosting and mood-enhancing properties.

 

This impressive formula doesn’t stop there. To supercharge Vitality, a combination of powerful nootropic and brain-boosting ingredients have been added. Huperzine A has been added to help boost memory and neuro function, Cognizin Citicoline to reduce age-related memory impairment and boost attention, and Tyrosine to improve alertness and mental performance. Lastly, the key ingredient, Lion’s Mane, has been added to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, boost immune health, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and to help speed up recovery from nervous system damage.

Everything you need to know to get up to speed on weight loss: Cardio vs Weights

Everything you need to know to get up to speed on weight loss: Cardio vs Weights

The topic of weights vs cardio has been an age-old debate with the common misconception that lifting weights will make you bulky and big and a lot of cardio will cause you to strip high amounts of fat. However, nutrition plays a pivotal role in fat loss, using exercise as a tool will assist fat loss further and there are both pros and cons of choosing either cardio or weights.

Staying on top of your nutrition is essential as it is a vital aspect of your fitness journey. Food provides you with energy and also calories. In order to achieve fat loss, it is advised that an individual should be in a caloric deficit meaning they should consume less food than they burn. This is considered a negative energy balance. An alternative to being in a caloric deficit is to calculate your maintenance calories which is the amount you need to consume per day in order to maintain your weight after doing physical activities whether sport, occupational or leisure.  Here is a link that will assist you with calculating your calories (https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/macronutcal.htm). To avoid dropping your calories and constantly being hungry, you can utilise weights or cardio as a tool to increase your energy expenditure. This will also result in weight loss, as you will exert more energy than you consume, without starving yourself.

So why should you choose cardio? Cardio exercises are great as it is an easy way to burn calories in a single session, you can do then anywhere without needing any equipment and it is also proven to improve your cardiovascular system. On average, you will be able to burn up to 250 calories in a single session. However, there are many factors that contribute to how much you will actually burn. These factors include; age – as the older you are the fewer calories you can expect to burn, workout intensity – the higher the intensity, the faster your heart rate and the more calories you will expect to burn, overall daily activity – the more sedentary you are, the fewer calories you will burn. You will not need any specific equipment in order to do most cardiovascular exercises. Such examples are running, jogging or bodyweight circuits. These are great to do at the park, the beach and even better if you have a dog to go on runs with. The main benefit of doing cardio exercises is that they will improve your cardiovascular health. You will improve your cardiac output – the amount of blood pumped around your body per beat, which is the product of your stroke volume and heart rate. Having a greater cardiac output will result in a higher amount of oxygenated blood available to your working muscles and thus greater potential output.

Although there many benefits in doing cardio, there are also negatives. Cardio exercises will not help in building or retaining muscle mass. Long durations will put a lot of strain on your joints and ligaments, especially in your legs and most steady state activities usually require the lower body thus you will be neglecting your upper half. Due to the nature of most of the exercises, you will not be putting direct load or stress on the muscles, which will not stimulate them to grow as effective as lifting weights will. Steady state cardiovascular exercises will put your body in a catabolic state, which means the loss of your hard-earned muscles. Long durations of cardio will strain and put stress on the joints and ligaments. Take running for example, it requires the understanding of biomechanics and correct running motion, in order to ensure you can run effectively and efficiently. The most common injury is knee pain which can set you back for a long period of time. In addition, most steady state activities require the use of the lower body, which means you will be neglecting your upper body. This is not ideal as it your body will be disproportioned and therefore a lack of upper body strength, which can affect everyday life tasks.

Weights on the other hand is the best option if you are looking to maintain/build muscle mass as you can actively target specific muscles and there is much more scope to add variations to your routine. Due to the nature of lifting weights, you can directly put load on and target specific muscles selectively for them to grow. Lifting weights stimulates the muscle fibres, causing them to tear during your workout and then rebuild bigger and stronger during your recovery due to a cellular process to form new muscle protein strands. This process will allow you to recruit more motor units and lift heavier over time. You will also improve your posture as you will be able to activate muscle such as your erector spinae and upper back to be more upright. One major benefit of weight training, especially with the older population is to maintain their bone density. Due to the risk of arthritis, it is important to ensure that your joints, ligaments and bones are strong and healthy for as long as possible. Weight training will develop and strengthen them which will be very beneficial in the long run. With a heap of exercises to choose from, you can add many variations to your routine, which will ensure you’ll enjoy your training. Unlike cardio exercises which is limited to only a few options. You can also do circuits or HIIT training with weights to improve your cardiovascular system.

As we are a gym that is strength/weight focused, it is inevitable that we will be biased towards lifting weights. However, if we had to pick some drawbacks, it would be investing time to learn the right form and technique and correct programming will be vital to ensure maximum gains. Learning the right technique will take some time as it is crucial to ensure you prevent injury. Similar to running, understanding the movement pattern and biomechanics of the exercises is important as you will be able to hit the correct muscles or lift the most amount of weight efficiently.

The take home message is that fat loss only comes from a caloric deficit and this can be achieved with the help of steady state exercise and weights. Cardio will help burn a substantial number of calories in a single session, but you will look like you don’t train. Weights on the other hand may take longer to achieve fat loss, but if you want to get a lean and toned physique, this is definitely the more effective option, and you will look like you go to the gym.

Happy training!

How To Bring Up Lagging Body Parts

How To Bring Up Lagging Body Parts

Bringing up your lagging body parts is something everyone will work towards when in the gym. Whether you want to get your arms and shoulders bigger for summer, you need a wider, stronger back for your athletic pursuit, or you’re after rounder, fuller glutes and thighs, there needs to be a plan put in place to achieve these goals.

We can pin this down to a few main factors, that cause majority of these weaknesses to stay that way and unless these are addressed, you’ll be left spinning your wheels. So let’s dig a bit deeper into 5 pillars, crucial for progress;

1. Perfecting Technique – It’s been touted a thousand times, but if you can’t feel a muscle contract, you’re not going to be getting the most out of it in any given movement pattern. If necessary, cut the weights back to begin with, nail in your execution of lifts so you can really get everything out of the movement and muscle. From here, with each and every rep, apply both intent and focus, as you gradually get stronger. Challenging yourself every time you come back around to that muscle and movement pattern

2.  Frequency – Stimulus is what we’re really looking at here. We want to stimulate a muscle, cause some micro tears in the tissue, signalling to the body to recover and repair, making it stronger for the next training bout. The more often we can do this the better, and given the protein synthetic rate of musculature, we’ve got a 48-72 hour recovery time before we can hit it again.
With this in mind we’ve got the opportunity and potential to train a muscle 2-3 x per week, that over the course of a year is 104 – 156 possible sessions to grow your glutes or chest.
Working this into your training week we can go with 2 lower body sessions per week, Monday and Thursday, then adding in an additional couple of sets for glutes on Saturday where we also hit say shoulders and back. This quite easily increases how often we’re signalling to the body “Hey, I’m using the muscle quite a lot, we need to make this bigger and stronger”

3. Volume – Think of volume as how many hard sets you’re doing per week. If you’re currently hitting a full “chest day” once per week, you do 5 exercises, 4 sets on each, that’s 20 work sets. In this session you’re annihilating the muscle, but only hitting it once then leaving it for 144 hours before the next chest day rolls around.Keeping those 20 work sets you’re doing, we can space it out, increasing the frequency and dropping the individual session volume;e.g. 8 sets on Monday & Thursday, then 4 on Saturday.

By dropping the amount of work you’re doing on one single day, you’re not completely demolishing the muscle but stimulating it enough to cause an adaptation. You’re also then in a better place to push your strength as you’re not accruing more and more fatigue which only leaves you “feeling” like you’ve done a lot of work.
This leads on well to the next point of….

4. Strength – Now it’s all well and good to feel the muscle, then hit it often, but if strength is not progressing, your muscle won’t adapt. We need to push hard, log booking your sessions, ensuring week in, week out we’re testing new grounds and moving forwards, challenging the muscle and forcing the adaptations we require. That can be via a bit more weight, an additional couple of reps or taking on one more set, but we need to challenge the body to cause the adaptation we’re after. Strength is a key driver of growth; a stronger muscle will be a bigger muscle. If we take your Barbell Hip Thrust from 90kg for 6 reps, up to 180kg for 6 reps, I guarantee you your glutes and hamstrings will be bigger as they’ve gotten significantly stronger. It’s a basic physiological adaptation, but this requires you to be diligent and work hard!

5. Calories – With the previously mentioned factors we’ll be in a place where we’re pushing hard and training frequently, we need the calories there to recover, signal surplus to the body to continue strength progressions and increase the potential for new tissue to be gradually be gained. If you really want to progress you can’t be scared of the calorie, if you are, then that’s something we’ll need to address if you really want to push ahead in your progress. See the performance progressions you are making and the potential for you to keep going, you need to fuel the body to get the most out of it. If you train like you mean it, don’t sit on your phone all sessions, challenge yourself and keep pushing progress, the calories are well deserved and aiding that recovery process (if you need to work out intake see my previous blog posts)

There are many moving parts when it comes to training and bringing up weaknesses, but it is really quite simple; Train well, train hard, push ourselves often and eat to support our goals. It takes time, commitment and continual effort. It always comes back to consistency and your ability to do the necessary today, to move ahead tomorrow to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

If you want help with building muscle, losing body fat or just improving your overall health and fitness get in touch

Brady Curtin

A | 99 Murphy St RICHMOND

P | 0458 957 686

E | bradycurtinfitness@gmail.com

 

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