September 27, 2017

5 tips to get the most out of your running

Preparation is, arguably, more important than the running itself. With poor prep you can kiss a decent run goodbye. Here are my 5 tips that I stick to when running, most of the time anyway.
  • Green vegetables full of antioxidantsEat well and drink well - It is crucial to have a balanced diet with plenty of energy and protein to repair cells and muscles. Eat lots of green vegetables and fruit with antioxidants and vitamin C so that you can keep your immune system going at full pelt. Prunes, raisins, blackberries and blueberries are full of antioxidants. My advice would be to try and eat clean so avoid processed foods; they are hard for your system to metabolise so keep it simple. Also drink lots of water!
  • Get plenty of sleep – If I don’t get at least 8 hours a night I am exhausted for my run the next day; your body needs this down time to repair itself so get enough sleep.
  • Balance your commitments – Make time for your run and don’t relent on it (as much as possible). My running is really important to me in terms of my health and so I won’t compromise on that. I set a specific time for it and stick to it.
  • Have a goal – Have an aim and something to work towards. This might be a 10k race or marathon or it might be lose 5kg. You also might want to improve your times; whatever it is have that goal in mind and a timeframe to hit it.
  • Be positive – Be positive, be focused and keep that state of mind. When it is dark and miserable outside it is easy to put that run off. Keep positive and think how great you’ll feel at the end of it. Also if you have a bad run shrug it off and get back on the horse the next day. Look at running, and the rest of life, sunny side up!

 

 

So chocolate is good for you!

Hand made chocolatesI had the great pleasure of being treated to a chocolate making class for my birthday and it was one of the best things I have done in a very long time. Not only did I make some amazing choccies but I also learnt so much about it and apparently it is actually pretty good for you. Chocolate is full of antioxidants but only if you eat the good stuff. Eat the rubbish and you get fat and sugar. So what has this got to do with running? Well us runners always need snacks and if chocolate is good for us I’d like to know more!

Firstly what is chocolate? Well it is from the Cacoa plant and the seeds are fermented then the beans roasted, dried and the shell removed to provide cocoa nibs. Cocoa nibs are available at some health stores and this is chocolate in its pure form. They are often put on cereal, salads and other food and are full of antioxidants and minerals.  I’ve just bought a block of pure, pure choccie in this form to play with in food. These cocoa nibs are ground to cocoa mass which is a mix of cocoa butter and cocoa solids; cocoa butter is separated from the solids. From here various products such as cream, vanilla, sugar and emulsifier are added to chocolate solids and some of the cocoa butter to make it the amazing thing we buy and eat.

Chocolate makingSo what is good and what isn’t? We have all probably heard how great dark chocolate is. Well it’s true depending on what you buy; the closer you can get to the pure chocolate form the better. Once you start adding sugar, milk, vegetable fat etc. you get away from what chocolate is. Some ‘chocolate’ out there is just fat and sugar. Find a chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids, no vegetable fat and natural bourbon vanilla. There are some amazing brands out there but the good ones which are easily accessible are Green and Blacks and Lindt. Stay away from chocolate with vegetable fat, vanillin and a low % of cocoa mass in. Some won’t even have cocoa butter in as it is more valuable out of the chocolate than in it. Nestle is a particularly poor brand. Nestle Melts have less than 16% cocoa, no cocoa butter and vegetable fat. Hmmm!

What benefits does chocolate have? Studies have shown that it can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, help improve cardiovascular problems amongst other things. Of course if you eat half a kilo of Cadbury’s a day it probably won’t help.

I’m now very conscious of what I am eating, I am staying clear of a few mainstream brands and focusing on quality. Also making your own chocolates is awesome and I totally recommend the cooking class I went to. See http://www.sissysbix.com/ for more information

What a great excuse to eat more of this amazing product! Enjoy!