Summer Body Booster Series Part Three
Welcome back to part three of our Summer Body Booster Series! When our little country heats up for summer, moods enlighten, spirits rise, and sometimes the basics of good health are forgotten about. The temptations to over indulge on ice creams, barbequed food and a few beverages is lurking, but I am here to remind you of the little tips & tricks to help you feel fit, healthy, and just improve your overall quality of life.
If you haven’t check out parts one & two, make sure you do for 4 sizzling high intensity workouts, daily activity & self-motivation talk, as well as some great ideas to switch up your breakfasts & lunch time meals. This month my workouts are going to focus on working those legs & glutes, as well as a challenging arms & abs session. Just like you, I too struggle to get motivation to hit the gym on those sunny days, so I have ensured these workouts can be done from home again, all you need is some dumbbells and a mat. First, let’s dive into discussing the importance of sleep in maintaining optimal health, and nutritious evening meal ideas.
How important is good quality sleep?
You’ve been exercising well, cleaned up your diet, but still feel sluggish, experience brain fog, and perhaps struggle with weight loss? I here this all too often from clients and we soon pinpoint the issue, poor sleep quantity & quality. Did you know that more than 1/3 of adults get less than 7 hours sleep a night?
Whilst some individuals are self-convinced that 5/6 hours sleep really is enough for them to function at optimal health, I hate to be the bearer of bad news! Quality sleep & an established sleep rhythm at the right times can help protect your physical health, but also mental health, quality of life, and safety. Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep a night, ideally closer to 8 hours.
Signs you are not getting enough sleep?
Some of the main indicators of sleep deprivation will include some of the following:
– Waking up feeling like you are not fully refreshed or alert. You may feel tired during the day experiencing what we call a “foggy mind”. It may impair your judgement, cause confusion/forgetfulness, & reduce your ability to concentrate.
– Your mood is generally low, you may experience more mood swings, feeling sad, angry or even depressed. These feelings should not be considered “normal”.
– You experience illness too frequently; a lack of sleep leaves your immune system more exposed and at risk for contracting viruses.
– You may be struggling with your weight loss as poor sleeping habits may interfere with appetite levels (increased hunger), and thus lead to increase caloric intake, resulting in excess body fat.
– Exercising feels extremely hard. If we don’t get enough sleep our bodies won’t get time to recover and eliminate metabolites that drain our bodies of energy. Thus, leading to low motivation, energy & desire to exercise.
How to improve your sleep quality?
There are many steps you can take to ensure you are getting good quality sleep:
– Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, ideally waking up at the same time each morning, from a light stage of sleep, will leave you feeling most refreshed (check out the Sleep Cycle app). This schedule should be in place at the weekends too, if possible.
– Be awakened by natural light, you can invest in a light which can start to naturally brighten your room as it edges closer to your set alarm time.
– Spend some time outside every day, aiming to get some sunlight. This helps to bring your body down a notch come bedtime.
– Try to limit drinks high in caffeine to 2/3 cups a day and aim to have no drinks high in caffeine up to 8 hours before your sleep time.
– Regular exercise will help to normalize your body’s clock and help you sleep better come night time, but be careful about exercising at a high intensity late into the evening as this can reduce sleep quality.
– Try not to have a huge meal before bed, but a snack comprised of a mix of protein, fats and carbohydrates which are minimally processed. This can help you feel satiated before bed.
– Try not to drink large amounts of fluids late in the evening time.
– Aim to keep your sleeping place cool.
– Clear your mind, by performing some mindfulness before bed and switching off your electronic devices to avoid any harsh artificial lighting, this fools the brain into thinking it’s time to be awake.
Tips & tricks for boosting your evening meal
We have looked into breakfast and lunch tips so far in this series, so let’s look to that evening meal! If possible try to space your calories throughout the day, rather than splurging out on a huge dinner over 1000 calories very late into the evening. It may upset your sleep but also leave you feeling lethargic afterwards. Whether it is a pre or post workout dinner, it’s important to get a mix of unprocessed protein, carbs & fats, whilst ensuring your micronutrient and dairy servings are met.
Here are some of my top light evening dishes for Summer time, and tips for creating our own.
If you look at your plate as a pie chart, split it into thirds. One third should comprise of vegetables, in doing so try your best to “eat the rainbow” with the vegetables you choose. The second third should comprise of wholegrain, slow releasing carbohydrates. The final third should be then split into three more slices, one of which is only small (think two thumbs worth) to comprise of healthy fats. The other larger sectors to be comprised of a protein source in one, and your dairy source in the other!
Here are some ideas for you to try out:
• Mac & Cheese – This dish can be made lighter by combining whole-wheat noodles with spiralized courgette, you won’t overdo your carbohydrate serving & get some greens in too. I like to add plenty of other veg, chicken pieces and a creamy sauce by adding cooked pasta to olive oil & chicken broth. Top the dish with some whole-wheat breadcrumbs and ¼ cup of parmesan cheese before baking.
• Feta & spinach patties are a really tasty addition to your summer salads. I suggest mashing tofu or chickpeas in a bowl, then add cooked couscous, feta, spinach, and other herbs of your preference. Mash together & form patties that won’t take much baking to make them compact and tasty, 6/7 minutes at most!
• If you are piecing together a summer salad following the above guidelines, my favourite cheese to add is Halloumi. Some turkey pieces, grapes, greens, tomatoes and a sprinkling of olive oil with some fried Halloumi cheese is super tasty and filling. Did you know halloumi cheese has a high melting point so it can easily be grilled or fried and won’t fall apart.
Work up a sweat with two new workouts!
Don’t forget to tackle our previous HIIT workouts before moving on to those below, which focus a little more specifically on certain body parts. Workouts 7 & 8 each have 7 exercises.
For exercises 1-5, set a timer for 10 minutes and see how many rounds of this mega circuit you can get done in that time! Then follow this up with 2 sets of exercises 6 and 7.
When you have done all of this… REPEAT! These workouts can fit into any busy day, taking no longer than 30 minutes to finish. Don’t forget to warm up with some starjumps or skipping initially, and stretch out your body afterwards.
Workout 5 – Legs & Glutes
1. 15 Double Pulse Squat
2. 10 Kneeling Jump Squat
3. 10 Over head Reverse lunges per leg
4. 8 In/Out jump Squats (1 Jump In + 1 Jump out = 1 rep)
5. 30 Frog Pumps
6. 12 Single Leg Glute Bridges per leg
7. 20 Plank Kickbacks
Workout 6 – Arms & Abs
1. 15 V – ups
2. 15 Bent knee Jack-knives
3. 14 Commandos
4. 14 Renegade Row
5. 12 Lateral Raise
6. 8 Split to Snap Jumps (1 Split + 1 Snap = 1 rep)
7. 14 Superman Plank (or you may just hold a forearm plank for 1 minute)
DYK: Milk is a great choice post-exercise. It has lactose to help to start the refueling process, high-quality proteins, whey and casein to assist muscle growth and repair, and, as it’s a liquid, milk helps with hydration. Check out some simple post-workout meals here.