• Sundried Ambassador Kris Hughes' Weight Loss Journey

    Weight loss has never really been a goal of mine. Being 6ft 7 I have actually struggled with weight gain for most of my life. However, with hard work, I managed to peak at around 108kg to help with my performance in rugby. Since moving to Dubai, there has always been one thing at the top of my to-do list and that is a sky dive over The Palm! After eventually saving enough and paying the deposit I saw that I must be under 100kg to participate. This started my new, and first ever, weight loss journey. So many people worldwide struggle with their weight, especially losing weight. As a PT I see it on a daily basis so getting to live in their shoes was always going to be an eye-opening experience for me, so here is a tale of how I achieved this and how I felt through the process.

    Preparation, commitment and dedication are what made this weight loss journey possible. If you keep true to these three things then weight loss is easy. Most people won't believe it but it can be that easy. I prepared healthy meals and a suitable training plan as well as training times, scheduled small indulgences, calculated calorie expenditure and intake requirements and always kept my eye on the final goal. It may sound like a lot, but in reality this didn’t take long at all and was a small sacrifice to pay for achieving my goals.

    The healthy meal prep was my first priority. I kept to a low carb diet but with plenty of vegetables. For each meal that I cooked, I made spares to pack away so that cooking wouldn’t interfere with training and I wouldn’t panic and eat junk when tired. This is one of the most important parts of weight loss. The low carb meals worked wonders for me and tasted amazing so it didn’t affect my energy level at all.

    The commitment and dedication not only refers to preparing meals but training on those rough days where you're a bit sore, tired from work, your friends want to go out etc. But keeping focussed on that end goal and knowing you have a time limit keeps you strong to your goals. Plus a 1-hour workout is only about 4% of your day, so there's plenty time to fit one in. For instance, a 500 calorie cross-trainer workout is achievable in under 40 minutes so that’s even less time! This exercise was one of my most utilised. If I was tired, I would just put Netflix on my phone, select an episode, and cross-trainer or cycle away until it was done. Circuits were usually done before this or in the mornings where I had more energy and focus on the techniques.

    Was the process boring? Not at all. I still went out with friends. I still had the odd treat but it was all in moderation. I scheduled one night out and once or twice a week I would allow myself a small chocolate bar or something of that sort, something to look forward to and keep me focussed/sane. Removing all your treats completely can demoralise you and run a large risk of a relapse and over-indulging in junk food. 

    Overall, I must have scheduled light training 5-6 days a week, sometimes 2 sessions, but steady-paced work just to keep the calories burning off. Safe to say the system worked! And I cleared my target weight with ease! If I can do it…anyone can. So don’t settle for excuses on being overweight or struggling to lose a few pounds. If you set your mind to it, you can achieve almost anything. The human body and mind is an incredible thing if you use it right.

    Posted by Guest Reviewer
  • The Effects of Caffeine on Training

    Caffeine

    Caffeine is one of the most widely used drugs in the world, and in the world of health and fitness, it’s something we’re obsessed with.

    Research by The British Coffee Association has discovered that:

    • In the UK, we drink approximately 55 million cups of coffee per day. (Research by The British Coffee Association)
    • Gimoka has found that people in the UK drink 70 million cups of coffee per day, compared to 165 million cups of tea. Average British male coffee drinker drinks 13 cups per week, while average British female coffee drinker drinks 11.

    What does caffeine do?

    Caffeine is addictive, ask any coffee lover, but what does it actually do? Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant best known for its effect on tiredness, making you feel more focused and alert. For someone who never consumes caffeine, the increase may make them shake and talk faster, but after a while a tolerance is developed.

    Once caffeine hits your bloodstream (about 45-60 minutes after ingestion) it does more than just wake you up. Blood pressure, pulse rate, and stomach acid production are increased, fat stores are broken down, and fatty acids are released into the bloodstream. But just like with the shakes, after a time a tolerance is developed and a regular user will experience reduced effects. It’s caffeine’s ability to break down fat which is particularly important in athletic performance which we’ll explore later on.

    How long does caffeine take to kick in?

    It takes 45-60 minutes for caffeine to reach it’s highest levels in the blood stream, however you will notice the effects of caffeine after just 10 minutes. The half-life for caffeine is 4-6 hours which means that after this time, 50% of the caffeine originally consumed is still in the bloodstream. This means that if you were to drink a cup of coffee at 5pm, there would still be 50% of the caffeine in your system by bedtime.

    Coffee

    What is pre workout?

    Pre workout is a powder or tablet designed to be taken before a training session in order to increase your focus and athletic performance by pumping you up and giving you more energy. Pre-workout often contains large amounts of caffeine, as it not only makes you more alert, motivated, and focused on your workout, caffeine has the ability to increase pain tolerance during exercise, meaning you can lift more before fatiguing.

    Caffeine's effect on pain has been explored in more than just the workout world, with common pain relief tablets such as paracetamol and ibuprofen now containing caffeine, which is thought to make the pain relief more effective.

    Is coffee the best pre-workout ever?

    The most popular effects of any pre workout are alertness, increased focus, minimal fatigue, boosted strength and fat loss. The average cost of a pre workout will set you back about £30, which is a price we'd happily pay for all these benefits, right? However caffeine can have all of these effects at a fraction of the cost.

    Research by the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that exercisers who had 4.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight burned more calories and during an hour-long cardio session they had an increased energy expenditure of 15% for up to 3 hours compared to those who only received a placebo.

    The average cup of coffee has anything from 100mg-200mg of caffeine. The additional calorie burn happens due to the extra energy costs of ventilation.

    Caffeine gives you the energy to work harder and therefore burn more calories in order to recover.

    The average pre workout has approximately 150 - 300 mg of caffeine.

    Want to save your pennies? Try coffee pre workout for your caffeine fix.

    How much caffeine?

    Caffeine chocolate

    Food

    Caffeine Content per 100g

    Dark Chocolate

    43mg

    Coffee (brewed)

    20mg

    Coke

    8mg

    Red Bull

    30mg

    Tea

    20mg

    Aspirin

    65 mg (per serving)



    Benefits of caffeine

    A recent document published on the caffeine informer found that caffeine can potentially create effects such as:

    • Increased memory. A study by Johns Hopkins University showed that a 200mg caffeine pill helped boost memory consolidation.
    • Caffeine combined with carbohydrates helps replenish muscle glycogen concentrations faster after exercise.
    • Caffeine helps keep you alert while driving during periods of sleep restriction.
    • Caffeine can stimulate hair growth on balding men and women, however the amount of caffeine needed for this effect is the equivalent of about 60 cups of coffee.
    • Caffeine relieves post-workout muscle pain by up to 48%.
    • Caffeine helps improve memory.
    • Caffeine increases stamina during exercise.
    • People who consume caffeine have a lower risk of suicide.
    • Caffeine improves reaction times
    • Caffeine may help those trying to lose weight: Research out of Germany showed that weight loss study participants who drank 2-4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day were more likely to be successful at keeping the weight off than those who did not consume caffeine.
    Coffee Pre Workout
    Posted by Alexandra Parren