Did you Know

With an abundance of healthy living gimmicks at our fingertips, many of us self-diagnose and experiment with supplements claiming to cure.

The problem with playing Gini pig is the unnecessary pressure we place on our livers, which attempt to filter out these unfamiliar ingredients throughout the body.

When the liver doesn’t naturally recognize the products it’s working with it can cause unfortunate set backs on our health, ultimately slowing metabolism and causing unpleasant aches and pains.

Rather than relying on “manmade” products, a safe and easy way to avoid the gamble can be made by choosing natural and/ or organic foods instead.

This especially goes for those ‘easy to work with’ issues like gas, constipation, and bloating.

Although many of us turn a blind eye to natural wonders like Artichoke – they are, in fact, one of the most beneficial foods when treating chronic digestive issues including; IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), upset stomach, and nervous gastropathy or flatulence.

But the beauty of eating artichoke really lies In their ability to assist the liver with the production of bile flow and improve the breakdown of fat.

This process ultimately stimulates the intestinal wall, removing toxins previously ingested through food, water and air around us.

Thanks to compounds like Silymarin and Cynarin found within the skin of the artichoke, regeneration of the livers tissue is made natural and easy, thus supporting regular bowel movements daily.

In fact, this powerful detoxifier has nearly a 90% success rate in improving uncomfortable gas and belly bloat, due to its high Rutin levels which work as an anti-inflammatory to allergens within the body.

Its high Manganese makeup also aids in the metabolic breakdown of amino and fatty acids, as well as cholesterol, making it an absolute necessity for those looking to shed a few pounds as well.

This compound helps utilize nutrients, while its high fibre factor keeps you feeling full and acts as a prebiotic; increasing ‘good bacteria’ within the gut.

Just one artichoke a day can account for 1/4th of the average adults fibre requirements, while additionally supplying vitamin C, potassium, and folic acid for healthy cognitive function and bone health too.

Being healthy may require some upkeep, but with this cheap and simple addition to your diet, it definitely won’t feel like it.

Slice thinly on top any homemade pizza or add to a salad for an additional kick. Its strong vinegar flavour will definitely send happy tingles from your tongue to your tummy all day long!

The TrainerGames Health and Wellness Journalist,
Sarah Rea

After inspiring the great Sir Isaac Newton in his understanding of gravity, the ever-so-popular, apple could be the solution to many more unanswered questions.

We’re all familiar with that famous saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but this snack really will have them packing…

Portable, delicious, and unbeatable in nutritional value apples rank high on our charts with a whopping 6 grams of fibre. That’s already a quarter of your daily dietary needs in just a few bites!

Not only does this tasty treat keep 
“H-anger” under control, slowing digestion and suppressing appetite, but a decrease in overall calorie consumption could call for a better read on your scale after all.

By choosing apples, you’ll help cleanse your liver and break down harmful toxins within the bowels, almost guaranteeing more frequent trips to the bathroom.

By flushing your system regularly of highly processed foods and products rich in sugar, you’ll kick old unhealthy cravings to the curb – keeping good gut bacteria singing, while shedding unwanted pounds.

Pair them with a healthy fat source such as almonds or peanut butter and this pre-workout saviour could have you breaking your old records at the gym too.

Much like a “sugar high” you get after indulging in a big bowl of sweets, the fructose levels found naturally in apples make for a perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

Because they’re a simple carbohydrate source, your body has the ability to turn them into energy fast, making those who eat them regularly reportedly feeling happier and more focused.

According to a study conducted on animals, apple skin isn’t useless either. It’s ursolic acid improves skeletal muscle helping you burn more calories throughout the day too.

Besides preventing us from those dreaded check ups and muffin tops we all desperately avoid, you may also experience an improvement in cognitive function.

When compared to other fruits and veggies, apples as well as apple juice, have one of the highest levels of Quercetin in them; helping fight Alzheimer’s with age, while boosting ones memory and mood.

By upping your intake you actually encourage an increase in the brains acetylcholine levels.

These are the neurotransmitters responsible for reading signals from other parts of the body, including those which tell us when we’re full after eating.

So as the wise Mr. Newton once discovered “What goes up must come down,” I’m certain we don’t need an apple to hit us on the head to realize it’s a superfood that belongs at the top of the list.

The TrainerGames Health and Wellness Journalist,
Sarah Rea

If this winter chill doesn’t have you going bananas yet, then you may be packin’ some extra warmth under that belt from the holiday season.

It’s almost that time of year when we’re forced to blow the dust off our swim suits and strut our beach bods once again …

So I guess that means there’s just no time for monkeying around – or is there?

If you’re looking for the perfect pre-workout carb to fuel your next visit to the gym, than I’m sure our furry primate friends would agree when I say, a banana a day will keep sore muscles at bay.

Although high in natural sugars, this brightly coloured fruit carries an insane amount of potassium and magnesium; two essential minerals needed to recover after intense wear and tear on our muscles.

During vigorous exercise, your body secretes potassium through sweat glands; decreasing the amount we have available within the body.

Not only could this cause uncomfortable tummy issues such as belly bloating, constipation, and gas, but it can further muscle spasms and cramps during prolonged exercise and other daily activities.

Those who indulge in a large banana before or after the gym can significantly boost their potassium intake by nearly 500 milligrams, or roughly 10 percent of your daily recommended needs.

Besides this, a single serving can provide a female with over 20 percent of her recommended daily magnesium, and support males with approximately 17 percent of their needs too!

For those of you who don’t already know, magnesium plays a critical role in helping your body retain energy from foods consumed throughout the day, which in turn, supports our grind at the gym.

It can also act as a muscle relaxant and contribute to a deep sleep, which is critical for rest days in between long and strenuous training periods.

Lastly, during physical activity, our muscles use glycogen, a type of carbohydrate, as fuel.

If we indulge in proper carbohydrates, like bananas before hitting the monkey bars, it can increase endurance, thus playing a massive role in our athletic performance too.

So whether you use this perfect grab and go snack before a workout or blend it up in your post-workout protein shake, eating a banana a day will help replenish your body in all the right ways – promising absolutely no monkey business for you and your beach bod this year.

So don’t slip up – on your mark, get set, PEAL!

Trainer Games Health and Wellness Journalist,
Sarah Rea

THE BEST PART OF WAKING UP – IS COFFEE IN YOUR CUP!

As the old saying goes, “if there’s no pain, there’s no gain,” and for the most part that rhyme plays a relative factor when hitting the weights at the gym, but what if an extremely affordable beverage we all have come to know and love has proven this old tale wrong.

If you’re looking for a pre-workout supplement that will have you scorching calories with little-to-no pain during each rep and at less effort, then you may just want to make that pit stop at your local coffee spot on your way to the gym.

Black coffee, although bitter without your regular cream and sugar shot, is actually one of the most effective pre-workout drinks on the market!
Who says you have to pay oodles of money to get a good pump going when you’re main kick-start beverage to every other day seems to work wonders for you anyways!

When you down a cup before hitting the weights, you’re increasing your energy levels both physically and metabolically, causing your body to use fat cells for energy as opposed to glycogen.

The stimulants in caffeine will not only have you sweating more, but can also help suppress your appetite, making it easier to consume fewer calories throughout the day!

When studied closer, it was noted that caffeine increases a trainer’s athletic performance too, allowing one to train longer with more speed, power, and focus.

This ensures each workout is completed to the best of one’s ability, making this natural supplement both productive and effective for all.

Lastly, and probably the cherry fact on top of this cake was that, coffee, when consumed before exercise, actually decreased pain sensation. Thus allowing you to rip through more reps at a higher weight resistance – ultimately increasing your gains in record time.

Trainer Games Health and Wellness Journalist,
Sarah Rea

It Takes 2 to Tango

Life’s not always a bowl of cherries, but what if this super fruit is exactly what you need to make it so.

You train hard, eat well and your supplements seem on point, yet you still leave the gym feeling tired, soar and unable to budge those last few pounds on the scale.

Although there are many reasons why this could be, cherries, may be the missing ingredient to top the cake.

Not only do they carry the antioxidants to improve concentration and boost energy levels throughout the day, but their anti-inflammatory agents make post-workout recovery a breeze.

After strenuous weightlifting our torn muscles produce lactic acid build up, which can add to the aches and pains we experience days after our pump.

According to many sports nutritionists, athletes who drink 8-12 cups of cherry juice before, during, and after exercise, experience faster recovery than those who rely on protein powders and other supplements which claim to quicken the healing process too.

In fact, many marathon runners swear by this tart juice, claiming it works miracles for those who suffer with inflammation and joint pain from repetitive movement over time.

Besides this, consuming cherries may also reduce our concentration of fats within the blood, resulting in a lower percentage of fat mass, especially for those who struggle with weight gain around their mid-section.

To tie the knot in the cherry stem, this small and juicy summertime snack packs a serious amount of melatonin; a hormone critical in regulating our sleep cycles.

As we all know, sleep is a critical component in controlling our mood and measurements overtime, so including these little guys can almost guarantee no more sleepless nights. Thus leading to an overall healthier and happier you!

Trainer Games Health and Wellness Journalist,
Sarah Rea

Bitter or Sweet – That is The Question

For years we’ve been told chocolate is one of the largest leading culprits in weight gain and, sadly, todays consumers are bombarded with milk-chocolate temptation nearly everywhere we turn.

While this delicious treat may be hard to resist, I can assure you there is a silver lining to this painful fact. The grey area is simply underlined in an acquired taste between bitter and sweet.

So let’s be honest here, it’s no surprise that chocolate’s our worst enemy when those who lead unhealthy lifestyles consume it by the mounds and, often times, choose taste over quality.

The difference? While milk chocolate is most people’s go-to, dark chocolate (70% or higher) is actually proven to be much more beneficial for us in the long Hall.

As we know by now, milk chocolate is temporarily fulfilling; spiking ones serotonin levels in the brain and sending our taste buds on an all-inclusive trip to cloud nine.

Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is much more boring and bitter, yet assists the body in lowering high blood pressure while decreasing unhealthy cholesterol over time.

Not only does this make it a heart-healthy treat, but this superfood has actually been proven to increase a person’s performance in the gym too!

But wait just one moment, that doesn’t mean you can feel good about crushing a whole block of dark chocolate before hitting the treadmill, but it does mean that a piece, weighing no more than 5g or half a square can actually increase blood flow to your muscles; making them stronger with each rep taken.

When studied further, it was noted that the flavonoid (or better described as the factor providing sweetness,) actually binds to receptors in muscles, while Epicatechin (a compound found in dark chocolate,) helps resist fatigue if consumed in small amounts 20 minutes prior to your “pump.”

Today, you can spot Epicatechin in many supplements which claim to help build lean muscle mass and burn fat in conjunction.

Besides this, dark chocolate was also ranked higher in antioxidants than those found in Acai and Blueberries and has more Fiber, Iron, and Magnesium than half of the supplements we turn to on health-food store shelves.

Bottom line, chocolate is not the enemy here, it’s the milk and sugar added to cocoa-beans that makes it harmful!

So the next time you’re tempted to reach for that caramel-filled chocolate bar while standing at the checkout, I hope you remember that healthier options may be less exciting, but they’re often better for us or “bitter-sweet” in the end.

Trainer Games Health and Wellness Journalist,
Sarah Rea

When it comes to the holiday season, nothing’s more tempting then those sweets staring back at us from shop windows, but the lure of chocolates and pastries just isn’t worth the jolly old Santa belly in the end.

If its sugar your taste buds call for, berries may just be at the top of your wish list.

Known for their fabulous reputation; berries contain tons of fibre to fuel a healthy digestive system and all the Anthocyanins to keep your memory sharp with age. This small but mighty superfood is also packed with an abundance of cancer fighting properties and antioxidants which may just prevent sickness in this cold and flu seasons.

In a study practiced by the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, the Polyphenols found in strawberries, raspberries and especially in as little as 1/4 cup blueberries, may just help preserve bone density after menopause.

The experiment was held at Florida Study University where
Rats had their ovaries removed to deprive them of estrogen much like our postmenopausal state. For three months they were fed blueberries every day which significantly increased their bone density.

“We believe that polyphenols in the berries slowed the rate [of bone turnover], ultimately saving bone,” says Bahram Arjmandi, Ph.D., R.D., the study’s lead author and professor and chair of the department of nutrition, food and exercise sciences at FSU.

Polyphenols also assist in an increase of nitric oxide levels which can develop a number of heart healthy benefits. One main factor being the relaxation of blood vessels; resulting in a lower blood pressure for all.

By adding a small dose to your daily diet, these little life savours can have you wishing all your friends and family a berry Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Sarah Rea