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Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

What is a Tri Set?

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Hi All,

Continuing on with our series of workout articles we are going to look at what a Tri set is. This is where you do 3 exercises, back to back (with no rest period) for the same muscle.

Some examples of tri sets I use with my personal training clients include:

Deltoid

Front Raise
Lateral Raise
Reverse Fly

Great set as it targets all 3 heads of the deltoid

Biceps

Bicep Curl
Hammer curl
EZ Bar Curl

Triceps

Tricep Press Down (Heavy – Rope)
Tricep Press Down (Heavy – Bar)
Dips (Fast to Failure)

Remember it is down to you to manipulate the number of reps that you are doing based on your individual goals! Look out for our up coming series on training variables!

Tom

What is a pyramid set

Friday, November 9th, 2012

A pyramid set is another advanced training method that allows you to increase the amount of work done by a given muscle.  You would do a set of a given number of reps then move onto the next level in the pyramid.  Pyramid sets can be done in a number of different formats, these have been detailed below:-

 

Ascending

1 rep

4 reps

6 reps

8 reps

12 reps

 

Descending

12 reps

8 reps

6 reps

4 reps

1 rep

 

Full

12 reps

6 reps

4 reps

1 rep

4 reps

6 reps

12 reps

 

Enjoy!

 

TOM

What is a Super Set?

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

After the epic response we got to last weeks post about giant sets, we thought we would make it a regular thing. So be ready to spice up your workout!

So what is a super set? It is a great way to initiate overload in a muscle and therefore encourage development!

A superset is where you do two exercises back to back, so with no rest for a given muscle group. It normally works on the agonist/antagonist principle, so basically working two opposing muscles back to back.

Here are some examples for you to try:

Arms

– Bicep Curl followed by Tricep Press Down (Agonist/antagonist)

– Bicep Curl followed by Hammer Curl (Agonist/Agonist)

Legs

– Leg Extension followed by Leg Curl (Agonist/Antagoints)

This system can also be used where the two exercises are focused on the same muscle, this is called an agonist/agonist super set.

Some examples are:

Enjoy!

Tom

What is a Giant Set?

Friday, October 26th, 2012

I get asked all the time how I manage to kill my clients do quickly?

Most of the time the old methods are the best! One of my tools that I use is a Giant Set, and it is as it sounds… Epic!

The basic idea of a giant set is to do five or more exercises for the same muscle group, with no rest! As you can imagine this is a killer!

So common groups are chest, back (vertical or horizontal pull), shoulders, core, and legs.

Here are some examples for you to try:-

Chest

– Press up

– Decline press up

– Incline press up

– Walking press

– Explosive press up

Legs

– Squat

– Lunge

– Lateral lunge

– Cross legged squat

– Squat to jump

Shoulders

– Shoulder press

– Upright row

– Lateral Raise

– Frontal raise

– Reverse fly

 

Enjoy and let me know how you found them!

Tom

Carrot Juice Recipes

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Healthy Eyes at Work

Monday, July 16th, 2012

More and more people these days are working in front of computers, and it seems that in the near future this trend will only increase. This is simply the way of the world, and specifically the way of business – with more businesses being capable of running smoothly online, and more people taking advantage of various Internet work and freelance opportunities, computers are more vital for work than ever before. This is wonderful for many different reasons, but it can also be a bit troublesome from a personal health and performance standpoint. For example, many people find that their eyes become very uncomfortable staring at computer screens all day, and this can lead to headaches, as well as attention lapses. So how can you avoid these types of problems? Here are a few basic tips for eye and head health working at computer screens.

• First off, before you even worry about your computer or your workplace habits, consider your eyes on their own. If you wear contact lenses, remember that Acuvue UK can provide you with various styles designed to fit different eyes and keep your eyes moist. You should take steps to be certain that you have the most comfortable possible contacts for your own eyes.
• Once your own eyes are guaranteed to be as comfortable as they can be at work, you should consider your computer screen, and what about it makes you uncomfortable. One thing to keep in mind is that most people keep their computer screens on brighter settings than necessary. If you try dimming your screen a little bit, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much less irritating it is for your eyes.
• Additionally, you should consider situating your desk setup in a way that keeps your computer screen a bit farther away from your face. Particularly when they concentrate hard on their work, people have a tendency to lean in closely to their screens, and this can lead to more significant irritation. If you make an effort to keep your screen at least two feet in front of your face, your eyes should be a bit more comfortable.
• Finally, once you have addressed your eyes and your computer setup, you should also remember that breaks are necessary when you work at a computer. Staring at a screen all day can not only irritate you physically, but it can also cause you to work less efficiently. Taking a ten minute break now and then, every couple of hours, can refresh you far more than you might guess, and you may even find that you work better in between your breaks.

Is Raw Milk Safe (Part 2)? By Ben Pratt

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Below is an article written by Ben Pratt of Natural Food Finder, this has been kindly reproduced with his permission, Thanks Ben!

After the last post on raw milk safety I have had some great discussions with friends and colleagues regarding the ‘evidence’ that is typically put forward apparently condemning the safety of drinking unpasteurised milk. Raw milk has also been in the press further in the last few weeks; in the Evening Standard as a result of Selfridges in London allowing a raw milk vending machine in their store (run by Hook & Sons), and also on the BBC One Show exploring the wonderful Guernsey milk produced by Dave Paull in Somerset.

The Foods Standards Agency have always been openly opposed to raw milk claiming that there is a mountain of evidence that it poses a more significant risk to our health compared to other foods and as such should be banned from consumption. However, as government have not been able to pass any laws to bring a ban into affect (despite 2 previous attempts) the FSA continues to encourage strict regulation and a to maintain a ‘beady’ little eye fixed on the raw milk farms and the bacterial counts of the milk that they produce. I went searching and came across the FSA’s full 2010 report on their website listing all the statistics and ‘evidence’ as to why raw milk should be banned. There is quite a lot of information to digest in this 20 page document. To get to the point I have created the table below which highlights the key statistics from within this report to show that the risk from raw milk is really not very significant at all.

I apologise for the small text size – please use the buttons Ctrl and + to zoom your screen to make it more easy to read.(Ctrl and 0 will restore screen)

It can clearly be seen that raw milk only accounts for 0.8% of all the total food borne illnesses in the UK over the 17 years that records have been kept regarding this. In terms of the number of people actually affected this is even fewer with only 0.39% of people affected by food borne illness contracting their bacterial strain from raw milk. There have been absolutely no deaths recorded at all as a result of illness due to drinking raw milk across the 17 years, but 149 deaths have been caused by other bacteria from other foods!! Why then is it raw milk that is under pressure to be banned and is still under tight regulation? Should we not be looking to the other foods that are causing 99.2% of all the food borne illnesses and 100% of the deaths related to food borne illnesses and measuring them against the same stiff ruler that is lined up against raw milk? Surely this is ridiculous! How is this a mountain of evidence? It is weak at very best – and it is the FSA’s own figures, their own statistics that show how poor the association between raw milk consumption and illness really is when compared to other foods. It is also important to point out that there was no mention in the report that the small number of raw milk related cases of illness actually drank the milk from licensed farms who produce their milk in line with the standards laid down by regulatory bodies. This raw milk could have come from anywhere, or any farm.

When looking at the 242 actual cases of illness related to raw milk consumption over the full 17 years we can determine that there is an average of 14 people each year who may contract a bacterial illness as a result of raw milk consumption. Of course we do not want these 14 people to become sick, but compared to the annual average of 3,634 people who become ill as a result of consuming other foods, raw milk is not looking nearly so bad after all.

Campylobacter is by far the most common source of illness related to raw milk consumption with 51% of the 242 cases, but it has the lowest rate of hospital admission at 5% as the symptoms may be unpleasant but are rarely life threatening. E Coli 0157 has the lowest percentage of actual illness attributed to raw milk (17% of 242 cases) but has the highest contribution to hospital admissions from the raw milk group as a contrast (63.8% of 36 admissions), totaling 23 people admitted over the 17 years reviewed. Now bearing in mind that the FSA also reported in 2005 that food borne campylobacter rates from all food sources peaked in 1998 at 58,000 cases in the UK dropping to 46,200 in 2002, then the 125 cases from raw milk over 17 years (averaging 7.3 cases per year) seem of little concern in comparison. This means that campylobacter related illness specifically originating from unpasteurised milk and cream accounted for 0.013% of all campylobacter infections in the UK in 1998 and only 0.015% of all campylobacter infections in 2002! Once again the question of why we are not increasing regulations on the other foods that cause 99.87% of campylobacter infections instead of unfairly regulating against raw milk has to be asked! It is clear from the first safety blog on raw milk that campylobacter is most commonly associated with chicken, salad vegetables and drinking water.

The Department of Health has observed a rise in the rate of illness from E Coli 0157 between 1982 and 2000. The year 2000 brought the highest on record up to that point with 850 reported cases of E Coli related illness. Of these cases in 2000 only 6 were identified as being from unpasteurised milk, or 0.7% of cases. The E Coli 0157 strain of bacteria causes a more serious illness that, as we have already pointed out, may result in hospital admission in more cases than with campylobacter. It is absolutely correct that we be concerned with E Coli, but once again should we not be taking stricter regulation of the other foods that are causing 99.3% of the cases of E Coli? I recently attended a raw milk debate in Ireland earlier this year where the Food Safety Authority officials made very passionate arguments about the ‘high’ risk of E Coli infection from raw milk. They used scare tactics to highlight how bad this illness is, implying raw milk was a primary cause. They even referred to a recent outbreak in Germany as though it were related to raw milk. I came away from the meeting and immediately read the news reports on this outbreak in Germany and as it happens they believed it came from cucumbers – nothing to do with milk. Here in the UK a recent E Coli outbreak affecting 250 people in 2011 was attributed to soil grown vegetables. Once again not milk! But I don’t here anyone calling for a ban on soil grown vegetables – no nothing like that. Vegetables are good for us, so just a reminder has been offered to be sure we wash of veg thoroughly.

Even more interesting is the incorrect assumption that drinking pasteurised milk will guarantee safety and prevent illness. The 2010 FSA report identifies that in the 17 years from 1992 to 2009 that 545 people were affected by bacteria related illness as a result of drinking pasteurised milk. This is more than double the rate of illness from raw milk over the same period of time! Of these outbreaks 43 people were hospitalised, slightly exceeding that of raw milk. There were no deaths related to pasteurised milk consumption. Whilst it is clear that more people drink pasteurised milk than raw, this shows that the idea that pasteurising milk somehow guarantees safety in consumption is completely false. Pasteurisation does guarantee that the milk you drink will be lower is nutrition and goodness as we discussed in our previous milk blog on nutritional benefits. Raw milk is a safe food to eat when it is is produced to carefully regulated standards from cows who graze on green pasture, hay or silage. In more than 99% of cases it will provide nutrition and good health and the risk of illness is certainly no higher than any other food that we eat in our modern food chain. In fact in most cases it is probably much cleaner and safer! The statistics speak for themselves. Now you have seen them with your own eyes and understand the minimal risks why not find your nearest raw milk supplier and see what real milk tastes like. The nutritional benefits are there to be had. Get to know your farmer and ensure he is maintaining high standards so that your milk is as nutritionally beneficial and as clean as possible. The bacterial standards at present in the UK for raw milk production are as follows:

Plate counts at 30 degrees C: (cfu per ml) < or = 20,000

Coliforms (cfu per ml) < 100

Note: cfu means ‘colony-forming units’ or active bacteria that are capable of replication

 

Is Raw Milk Safe? By Ben Pratt

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Below is an article written by Ben Pratt of Natural Food Finder, this has been kindly reproduced with his permission, Thanks Ben!

An article titled ‘The raw milk revolution’ was published on the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday 23rd November 2011. It was focused on the growing interest in this historical and valuable food and was not intended to be a convincing argument for the safety of raw milk. I decided to post some comments in support of Jon Healey the author of the article who had traveled to Olive Farm to taste the high quality milk from the Hurdlebrook herd of Guernsey dairy cows. We previously reported on the quality and cleanliness of the farm on an early blog on this site. We have also discussed the issue of whether there is nutritional benefit to raw milk versus pasteurised milk in a previous blog.

I was pleased to see that many of the early comments posted with this article were fairly positive, but invariably the further I read the more I found the nutrition zealots of the world banging on about raw milk is risky to drink, you would be risking your health to do so, it is like playing Russian roulette with your health etc. etc. etc. I could not stand the falsehoods anymore and so posted some replies to these individuals who seemed to have a desire to paint the whole raw milk picture with the same black brush. The comments and points raised in the day or two that followed have urged me to write a blog on the safety of raw milk. So here goes! Is raw, unpasteurised milk safe to drink?

The primary issue surrounding raw milk safety is whether or not milk that is not pasteurised carries with it harmful bacteria that may cause illness or in severe cases hospitalisation? Let’s start off by being brutally honest. Raw milk does have a risk of contamination from harmful bacteria…but then so does all food! All food is likely to carry bacteria into our digestive tract, whether it was brought from the farm, the processing plant or simply comes into contact with a less than sterile kitchen surface. Much of the bacteria that will be in food is not pathogenic, it will do us absolutely no harm. in fact some bacteria will be beneficial. Humans have developed a symbiotic existence with the many trillions of bacteria that live around us and in us. The healthy human bowel is estimated to have 3-4 lbs of bacteria within it. So first and foremost we need to get over the assumption that all bacteria are harmful and therefore we must kill 99.9% of germs with our sprays and cleansers, nevermind our food. However, all food does carry a small chance of exposure to a few species of bacteria that can cause illness and harm. A couple of dozen, out of the many millions of bacterial sub types, are potentially harmful. There are four specific families of bacteria that are responsible for a large majority of the food poisoning in modern societies:

  • Campylobacter
  • Listeria
  • Salmonella
  • E-coli

We need to determine whether these pathogenic bacteria are rampant in the milk supply or not? A study of raw milk risk in the USA conducted by Dr Ted Beals evaluated the actual incidence of bacterial infection from the ‘big four’ bacteria as a result of drinking unpasteurised milk. This was compared to the total number of cases of food poisoning from all sources across the nation from each specific bacteria over same time period. The figures he determined are as follows:

This hardly sounds like the dreaded, bacterial epidemic that is usually thrown by dissenting voices at those who drink raw milk. Dr Beals states that he tried to ensure that he included all certain cases of raw milk contamination in his figures from the 10 year sample he selected. Clearly food poisoning is a real problem in the USA, with so many reported cases of illness on record, it is definitely something that needs to be dealt with. However, if raw milk is causing such a small number of annual cases of illness, then what is causing the problem?

Whilst this data set does acknowledge that bacterial infection can be traced to raw milk, it does not paint the whole picture. This table needs to be put into context by looking at other studies that investigated the rate that food poisoning occurs within other food categories. The following data is drawn from a scientific study that investigated the rates of campylobacter infection from a random sample of food poisoning cases in the USA. They determined that the highest fraction of food poisoning came from chicken (31%), eating raw, salad vegetables (21%), drinking bottled water (12%) and eating fried chicken (4%). Campylobacter infection from all milk sources in this study was miniscule in comaprison to these other much more potent sources (Evans, Ribeiro & Salmon, 2003). Indeed some studies have shown that over time the natural and living compounds in raw milk actually destroy and kill off harmful bacteria over time rather than allow harmful bacteria to grow.

  • Lactobacillus gradually increase the lactic acid levels in the milk, altering the pH which slows and even helps reverse pathogenic bacterial growth
  • Lactoperoxidase, which is much higher in cows and goats milk than human milk helps to disarm and destroy pathogenic bacteria
  • Lactoferrin is found in rich supply in raw milk and has potent anti-bacterial properties and has even been approved by the American FDA for use as an anti-microbial spray against E-coli 0157:H7 in meat processing plants because it is so effective
  • Many other compounds in raw milk have an anti-microbial effect such as medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), enzymes (lysozyme), fibronectin and glycomacropeptides to name a few

All of these protective mechanisms are destroyed above 56 degrees celcius (bar the MCFA’s) and as the pasteurisation process heats to 72 degrees, they are completely inactivated by subjecting milk to this process. Therefore, milk that has been pasteurised becomes sterile, but if a pathogenic bacteria does manage to infiltrate the system it has nothing to stop it replicating and spreading like wildfire through the milk. This will then be dangerous to drink as the chances of illness are greatly increased and the milk has no protective factors! Interestingly, it was reported in Letters in Applied Microbiology (1999) that when 7 strains of E-coli 0157:H7 were added to raw milk at concentrations of 1 million per ml that the bacteria failed to grow and gradually died off. I am not suggesting we should not care about the purity of our raw milk, but this does show us that the protective factors in raw milk fight pathogenic invasion.

The Foods Standards Agency has stated that there has not been a single case of reported illness in England or Wales as a result of drinking raw milk since 2002. During the last 10 years the popularity of drinking unpasteurised milk has grown considerably, but the rate of bacterial illness has not increased with the rise in intake. Organic Pastures Dairy in California operates a much larger raw milk operation than most small family farms. They have produced over 40 million servings of raw milk since 1999 without a single episode of food poisoning or illness and without a single bacterial lab test resulting in a positive outcome. California regulates raw milk sales and demands that there are no more than 15,000 bacteria per millilitre. Organic Pastures dairy currently averages 569 bacteria per millilitre, far below the allowable limit. Their milk is clean as a result of high standards of animal husbandry and hygienic milk processing facilities.

Unpasteurised milk is also regulated in the UK. Farmers selling raw milk to the public must hold a license to do so and their milk must be tested at least quarterly. Dairy herds must also be completely TB and Brucellosis free. It is also common to find raw milk farmers ensuring their cows are fed on grass, hay and silage in preference to concentrated feeds to ensure they keep them as healthy as possible. A farmers business relies on his raw milk sales. He cannot afford to be lax in his standards as a single case of illness as a result of drinking raw milk would destroy his business. This powerful motivation keeps the standards of farming high and the milk production system clean.

It is perfectly acceptable to have regulations governing raw milk production. It is important to ensure that standards are maintained and the risk to the public is kept at a minimum. However, it seems grossly unfair that such a strict eye is kept on raw milk, whilst other foods that are currently delivering a much greater portion of the food poisoning episodes in modern society are not subject to the same level of scrutiny. With raw salad vegetables contributing a sizeable portion of illness, should we not be arguing for a tighter regulations on these foods being consumed raw? That would only be fair! If you think this is ridiculous then consider the faulty logic behind the long held belief that raw milk is somehow inherently more dangerous to consume than other raw foods!

FREE Race for Life 2011 Training Guide

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

The race for life is a annual event held in parks all over the UK, it is a race for women to raise awareness and cash for Cancer research.  The event is unique in the way that it brings women together from a range of backgrounds and experiences with the common aim to fight cancer.  Most of the runners run in memory of at least one friend or relative who has suffered from cancer.

This is fast becoming the largest running event for women in the UK, the event is great to be involved in as it is a no ego, low competition race.  That just sees most people coming out for a good day and to help raise money for a good cause.

If you have not got a place sign up quick as places often run out fast!

FREE Race for Life Training Guide

What do you get in your Race for Life Training Guide?

  • Pre event guide
  • A Training Plan
  • Training Log
  • Motivational E-mails
  • Hints and Tips

All you need to do is fill in the form below and click the link in the first e-mail to get your FREE Race for Life 2011 Training Guide.

To enter and support this great event all you need to do is visit the Race for Life Website.

This is a great, fun, but challenging event.  Why not join in and help raise some much needed cash for a very good cause!

TOM

What is a Good Oil?

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Hi All,

I get asked this question so much by my personal training clients that I thought it might be a useful post to put out to you lot in cyber space.

People are generally getting round to the fact that a no fat diet is not a healthy one, you need some fats in your diet.  But many people are unsure of what constitutes a good fat?  That is where we can help to gove you some guidance.  We are going to look purly at cooking ils in this post and try and identify which oils are good for various cooking situations.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a very popular oil  and is easiy available in the average superarket. It’s a great source of essential fatty acids, and is a source of monounsaturated fat, making it a great choice for maintaining a healthy heart.
A higher intake of olive oil in your diet will also help to increase the level of antioxidants present in your system, helping to fight free radicals that can cause disease.

Best use: Olive oil has a low smoking (burning) point, so it’s best used in dishes that aren’t cooked, like salad dressing or drizzled over vegetables after they’ve been cooked.

Coconut Oil
Although coconut oil contains a high percentage of saturated fat, these fats are in the form of medium chain triglycerides, which are handled by the body differently than regular saturated fats. Your body will use them immediately for energy and they won’t pose the same health threat as typical saturated fats do.

Best use: Good for frying due to its high smoking point or eaten cold because of the unique flavor it offers.

Fish Oil
Fish oil is a relatively healthy oil because it contains the omega-3 fatty acid precursors EPA and DHA, which work to reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Best use: Fish oil isn’t extracted and sold for cooking the way other oils on this list are; most people take fish oil supplements in capsule form, but you can also get fish oil when you eat fattier varieties of fish such as salmon or mackerel.

Hemp Oil
This particular oil is an extremely good source of essential fatty acids and has a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids, which is what the body needs for optimal functioning. This oil also helps with the treatment of eczema and is commonly found in facial products.

Best use: This oil is not good for frying, making it best consumed cold or in supplemental form.

Grape Seed Oil
Grape seed oil is a good source of essential fatty acids, with approximately 69% of the fat coming from omega-6 fats and 15% from omega-8 fatty acids. It does contain small amounts of saturated fat, but the benefits from this oil far outweigh the disadvantages. Grape seeds contain polyphenols (which are also found in red wine), which are a form of antioxidant.

Best use: Grape seed oil has among the highest smoking point of any cooking oil, so it’s great for preparing stir-fries and sautés.

Sunflower and Safflower Oil
Sunflower and safflower oils are a combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat and contain omega-6 fatty acids. Sunflower oil is also a rich source of vitamin E, so anyone looking to boost their intake will benefit from using this oil.

Best use: These oils have a lighter taste and are great for making stir-fries or salad dressings.

Bad fats

The following oils supply your body with less healthy sources of fat, including saturated and trans fatty acids. Make an effort to reduce or eliminate these oils from your diet whenever possible.

Palm Oil
Primarily used for creating many of the processed foods on the market, palm oil is a reddish color due to its beta-carotene content. It is quite high in saturated fat so it’s best avoided.

Best use: Look for palm oil that maintains its reddish color, since that means it’s less processed and healthier to use (but still not ideal). Use it in the same way as any other cooking oil.

Partially Hydrogenated Canola Oil
Any time you see the words “partially hydrogenated canola oil” on an ingredient’s panel, avoid eating that food or product if you can. While canola oil is a good source of healthy fats, when it goes through the process of hydrogenation, it transforms into trans fats, which increase your risk of coronary heart disease. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is commonly found in commercially prepared snack foods as well as fast foods, fried foods and baked goods.

Best Use: None — these should be always avoided.

Cottonseed Oil
While cotton seed oil is made up of 50% omega-6 fatty acids, it contains virtually no omega-3 fatty acids, so the imbalance between these could lead to health problems if not carefully balanced with other sources of fats rich in omega-3. Furthermore, cottonseed oil also contains 24% saturated fat and is very frequently partially or fully hydrogenated, which is extremely bad for your health.

Best use: If you are going to consume cottonseed oil, you are best off using pure cottonseed oil to make a salad dressing.

Hope that has proved useful,

TOM