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That's another week wrapped and only two weeks left until winter... I'm sure there'll be something fun in the works, so watch this space!


It looks like many of you were enjoying the session on Tuesday. I love this photo - smiling through the pain?  



Last week we looked at crowding, cloaking and the importance of water in assisting you to achieve better nutritional outcomes, eating more of the good stuff and maintaining stable blood sugar. This week we'll wrap up our food-based chat with some basics:


  • Eat slowly and mindfully to improve digestion and pay attention to fullness cues. Try putting cutlery down between mouthfuls and avoiding screens at mealtime (TV, computer AND phone).

  • Hunger vs appetite: Hunger is the hollow feeling that signals a physical need for food and may be accompanied by reduced energy. Appetite is the psychological desire for food, often linked to emotional comfort, celebration, distraction etc. An example is when you've had enough dinner but you'd still like dessert. The latter is appetite. If you'd love a pastry with your coffee but would turn down an apple, then you probably aren't actually hungry. This is not to say you should forgo the pastry, it's just helpful to be able to tell the difference so you can make choices that align with your goals. 

  • Know when to stop: If fat loss is your goal, try to stop eating when you are satiated rather than full. Look for 7 out of 10, at which point you should feel comfortable to get up and move right away. If your goal is muscle gain you'll need to eat a bit more. Look for 9 out of 10. You should be less comfortable and keen to rest after eating.

  • Protein portion sizes: While hunger cues should be guiding the amount of food you eat, it can be helpful to know how much protein to include. As a general rule, a protein portion should be the size and thickness of your palm.


Lastly, perfection is the enemy of progress. Enjoying food, friends, family, holidays etc are all important and should be embraced. Sometimes being really busy or stressed might mean its not practical to stick to a program for every meal. Making good choices as often as possible, is enough to effect change over time. Many suggest an 80/20 approach, where 80% is aligned with your goals and 20% is grace to enjoy life. The more you adhere to healthy eating habits, the faster you're likely to see the changes you hope for. It's all about balance. 


Poppy will be on deck in Balmain tomorrow! Photos below as always. I hope you have a fabulous weekend!









Exercise Review

Plank

 

This highly effective full-body exercise targets the abdominals, obliques and lower back, while also engaging the shoulders, arms and legs. By strengthening the core, planks improve stability, posture and spinal alignment, reducing the risk of back pain and enhancing overall balance and coordination. The video below does a great job of illustrating good technique, and offers a regression as well as a number of progressions - something for everyone! 




Well done to those who made it on the gloomy looking mornings! I have it on good authority that the rainfall was only occasional, though hard to predict as always. The yogis made the most of Benledi House and wasted no time getting started on their inversions. 

 


Let's get straight into two healthy hacks everyone can benefit from.


Crowding: This is a positive strategy emphasising the addition of more nutrient-dense foods like vegetables and fruit, instead of focusing on restrictions. Aim for variety and lots of colour. You'll be adding fibre which is filling and good for digestion; vitamins and minerals to function optimally; and more volume so you'll feel full without adding as many calories. This is a sustainable approach because nothing is off-limits, meaning less deprivation and room for all the times life calls for a bit of indulgence. There's no need to be hungry and a greater chance you'll feel successful and stick with it. The idea is to fill up on the "good", leaving less room for the things you might otherwise be trying to remove. Over time your taste preferences will shift, and making good choices will become ingrained. 


Cloaking: This is based on the knowledge that the combination of fiber-rich carbohydrates, lean protein, and heart-healthy fats promotes more stable glucose levels. By eating protein or fat with your carbs you can "cloak" them to prevent a spike in blood sugar. Fiber, protein, and fats work together to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and delay their absorption into the bloodstream. 


Lastly, its not a hack exactly, but WATER. Good hydration is vital for physical strength and energy; mental concentration and focus; clearing out metabolic waste to promote better recovery; and to feel more satiated. Having a glass of water before meals can also reduce the volume of less healthy liquid options. Have water for thirst and good health, before adding something more pleasurable.


That's it! What changes will you make toward good health and longevity?


Andy would love to see you all in Balmain tomorrow! Jackets will be given out next week, and payment details will be sent to each person individually. 


Photos below as always. Stay warm (and dry) and have a great weekend!








Recipe Suggestion

Lamb Shank Soup


Based on the discussion above, a recipe seemed appropriate this week. This one ticks a lot of boxes. Tasty and comforting, quick and easy, adequate protein and scope to add lots of extra veggies. 



This week marked the return of Benledi House for Wednesday morning yoga. I love that no matter where you train, Andy and Poppy make the most of the environment to vary the sessions for your benefit. It'll be great to see some headstands while you're indoors! 



It's hard to get past the beauty of the backdrop you are privileged to work with, as well as the variety of sights across both parks. Throw in supportive mates and a rotating roster of equipment, and hopefully the motivation required to get out of bed is less of a stretch. I think this was yesterday:



And Kathryn getting it done, rain, hail or shine:



As promised, we're going to take a more detailed look at the elements required to vary body composition, keeping in mind that this relates to the percentage of fat, bone and muscle in your body. Today's focus is food


Starting with bones, since we all want better bone density. This one is all about calcium and vitamin D, the latter being required for the former to be absorbed. The dairy lobby has done a fabulous job of educating us all about the calcium found in milk, yoghurt and cheese, but many non-dairy milks as well as bread and cereal are fortified with calcium these days. In addition, salmon, seeds, beans, lentils, almonds and leafy greens are all great sources. Vitamin D is a little harder to come by as we get into the winter months, though we are pretty lucky in Australia. Conveniently, many of the fortified foods mentioned above also have vitamin D added. You can boost this with salmon, mushrooms and egg yolk. 


Next lets consider muscle, since we hopefully all want more of that! A balanced diet is important here, including healthy fats and carbohydrates, but protein is king. It is essential for muscle recovery and repair. You'll get your best bang for buck with chicken, prawns, eggs, salmon, Greek yoghurt, beans, brown rice, sweet potato and nuts. Very few people eat enough protein without focusing on it. The goal is to have protein in every meal and every snack. If you're curious, the recommendation for muscle building is 1.4 - 2 grams of protein per day for each kilogram of body weight. So most likely more than 84 grams a day, through to possibly 175 grams. If you're serious about looking at your macros I'd recommend getting an app like myfitnesspal and tracking your food, even for just a few 'typical' days. It might tell you a lot about what changes you could make. 


Lastly we'll look at fat, since this one won't be for everyone. Consuming fewer calories than your body needs promotes fat loss by forcing your body to use stored fat for energy. To achieve this you must still consume enough protein to preserve muscle mass, providing the necessary amino acids for repair and maintenance. Sufficient protein can also protect your metabolic rate during a calorie deficit. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories even at rest. By retaining muscle mass through adequate protein intake, you can help prevent a significant drop in your metabolic rate. Protein is also filling and reduces hunger, making it easier to stick to a calorie deficit without feeling deprived. Ultimately, combining a calorie deficit with sufficient protein intake promotes fat loss while minimising muscle loss, leading to improved body composition.


Thanks to those who made it to the end of another long one! I'm sure you're sick of hearing about protein. I have plenty more to say about how to calculate your required caloric intake, the breakdown of macros, easier ways to be in a calorie deficit, and general strategies which might help, so we'll focus on this alone next week. 


Poppy will be in Balmain again tomorrow if you're up for a Saturday session. Below are the photos from the week. Stay warm and have a great weekend!







Exercise Review

Deadlift Variation - Straight Leg

 

This one is a request from Andy! Favoured for its recruitment of the posterior chain and opportunity to target the hamstrings, as the name suggests, this variation keeps the legs almost straight. This deadlift focuses on the legs more than the back. 


muscleandstrength.com have written a good step by step guide with tips, so I won't reinvent the wheel. It's worth noting the primary difference: the Romanian deadlift starts from the rack, or the top of the movement, while the SLD starts at the bottom. Plates can be used under the bar or under your feet to accommodate flexibility. Take a look!



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