• How To Stay Healthy While At University

    University College Freshman 15 Healthy Weight Loss

    Especially if your university accommodation is catered, it can be tough to stay healthy at college. Beat the Freshman 15 by following our tips for staying healthy while you study. 

    Catered Accommodation

    I have always loved cooking and adore being able to use fresh fruit and vegetables to make my meals. So, deciding to live in catered over non-catered halls was a tough decision, but eventually I gave into the idea of Sunday brunch always being ready for me. However, this meant I sacrificed a kitchen and also a lot of freedom over what I could eat and when.

    The food in my hall was tasty but a lot of the time very unhealthy. Combinations such as pasta with gravy and fish and chips with samosas came up regularly. I found myself having to creatively avoid these options by becoming a part-time vegetarian. This worked most of the time, but I was still being served pasta a lot or puffed pastry with cheese…still not my idea of a healthy balanced diet. To my hall’s credit, there was a salad bar, but this was the same every single day and got very boring. I ended up ordering in food a lot, but even then, those options were also unhealthy with pizza and Chinese usually being the winners amongst my friends.

    coffee shop students weight loss fitness health university college

    Eventually, I turned vegan as I realised there were only 4 other vegans in my hall and therefore the food was cooked specially for us and with a lot more care than to feed the other 300 students. Other than veganism (which was broken pretty regularly by the odd chicken breast or egg) I managed to learn a few tricks in order to stay healthy whilst living my best student life. I didn’t want to restrict myself and I still wanted to have fun. Drinking is also a big dilemma as a student as nights-out are unavoidably part of the experience.

    Tips for staying healthy at University

    The following are tips anyone can follow in order not to gain lots of weight without having to go vegan:

    1. Make the most of your university gym.
    2. Do not get a late-night McDonald's after a night of drinking. Instead, save yourself a banana and put it in your room so you can eat it when you get home.
    3. Try not to eat anything fried. Curly fries were often my weakness.
    4. If you know you’re going to get hungry after the gym, buy some carrots and celery to snack on.
    5. If your university's gym has a cafe, the food there is more likely to be healthier.
    6. Keep yogurt and seeds in your fridge so you always have a healthy start to the day.
    7. Take a hand-held food processor to university with you. This means you can whip-up smoothies (or even soup) without having a kitchen. 
    8. Take a nice selection of herbal teas and make sure you have your own thermos - I love the Sundried eco coffee cup. Most cafes will give you a discount on coffee when you have your own reusable cup.
    9. If you’re going to drink alcohol (which I did) drink tequila or vodka with soda and lime as they contain fewer calories than drinks like wine and beer.
    10. If you’re going to order take away try to go for Thai, Vietnamese or Sushi (always better than pizza!)

    By Siena Barry-Taylor

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Sundried Summer Workout

    Shea Vegan Personal Trainer Sundried Summer Workout

    Summer is well and truly here, which means it’s the perfect time to exercise outdoors! Outdoor workouts are great because you can bathe in the glorious sunshine and reap the extra health benefits of the vitamin D exposure from the rays - just make sure you wear plenty of sun cream!

    The Sundried Summer Workout can be done anywhere outdoors and doesn’t require any equipment so you can do it whenever the mood strikes. Maybe in your garden, while the kids play, or maybe in the park in an open space. Always remember to warm up properly before a workout and stay hydrated by always having a water bottle with you.

    Round 1

    The first round is a small circuit comprising of 5 exercises. Aim to complete each exercise for 60 seconds with no rest. If you are a beginner or you have an underlying injury, take it at your own pace and rest whenever you need. If you want more information on how to do an exercise, click or tap the name of the exercise.

    1. High Knees
    2. Press Ups
    3. Inch Worm
    4. Plank Shoulder Taps
    5. Burpees

    Lunge Bench Outdoor Workout Body Weight Sundried

    Round 2

    The second round is based on a Tabata style of HIIT training. HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and is a great way to burn fat and get fit. Tabata consists of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, and you can repeat that as many times as you like with as many different exercises as you like. In this workout, you'll be completing 8 rounds (1 round = 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest) to last 4 minutes with all different exercises. Go straight from one round to the next until you are finished.

    1. Jumping Jacks
    2. Side Steps
    3. Shuttle Runs
    4. Curtsy Lunges
    5. Mountain Climbers
    6. Lunges
    7. Donkey Kicks
    8. Squats

    Press Up Garden Home Workout Sundried

    Round 3

    Your final round is based more on body-weight strength training. You don't need equipment to have a good workout! Complete 3 sets of 10 reps on each of the following exercises with 30-60 seconds of rest in between each one. This is a full body workout which will target every muscle group. Take the exercises slow and perform each repetition with care, focussing on the muscle under tension.

    1. Squats
    2. Lunge to kick through
    3. Press Ups
    4. Back extensions
    5. Crunches
    6. Glute bridges

    Well done for completing the Sundried Summer Workout! 

    On completion of this workout, you should really be feeling the effects. If not, you can either work harder or make the exercises tougher. Remember, exercise is supposed to make you feel good about yourself, and you should fuel your body with nutritious food afterwards. If you find a particular workout boring, don't make yourself suffer by doing it. Find something you love, and you will find that staying fit has never been so easy.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Can you really speed up your metabolism?

    can you speed up your metabolism

    There are a lot of myths surrounding the infamous metabolism, but what is true and what's not? We take a look at whether you can really speed up your metabolism and how to utilise the metabolism in weight loss.

    Can you change the speed of your metabolism?

    The metabolism is the chemical reaction in the body that keeps us alive. The metabolism is controlled by hormones and the nervous system and this process breaks down the food you eat and turns it into energy. Your metabolism is measured as BMR, basal metabolic rate. Your BMR is the amount of calories (energy) your body burns just by being alive. 

    You inherit your metabolism and so your BMR is mostly controlled by your genetics, however there are external factors such as physical activity and diet which can speed up the metabolism. 

    stretch workout weight loss metabolism

    How do you increase your metabolism?

    There are different lifestyle factors which affect your metabolism and it gradually decreases as we age. If you want to increase your metabolism, try some of the following tricks. 

    Eat regular, small meals throughout the day

    Your blood sugar peaks and troughs naturally throughout the day, but too many spikes and dips can lead to mood swings, irritability, and cravings. By eating small meals regularly throughout the day, you will help to keep your blood sugar levels more stable and therefore keep your metabolism ticking over too.

    Eat more, don't be restrictive

    A very common motto in the fitness industry these days it that you need to eat more to lose weight. Gone are the days of magazines recommending we eat less than 1,000 calories per day and people mindlessly following fad diets like the baby food diet. We have now realised that to boost the metabolism and stay healthy, we actually need to eat plenty of food to fuel ourselves, so long as it's whole, unprocessed food and that we are also following a good exercise regime.

    Do HIIT

    By doing high intensity interval training like a Tabata workout, we create what is called the EPOC effect. The EPOC effect means your body continues to burn calories even once you've finished the workout. Tabata training is also proven to increase the BMR, which means your body will burn more calories at rest.

    Do strength training to build muscle

    It has been proven that the more muscle you have, the more fat your body burns. Having a high lean muscle mass will increase your metabolism and so you will burn more calories at rest. 

    strength training workout gym rings pull ups

    Metabolism boosting foods and drinks

    As well as the physical activity you do, there are ways to speed up your metabolism through your diet. The following foods and drinks are proven to increase your metabolism.

    Chilli peppers

    Studies have shown that spicy foods can (temporarily) increase your metabolism by up to 8 percent. By adding chilli and other spices to your food, you will be speeding up your metabolism, but only slightly.

    Coffee

    Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, and as we've already seen, it's the central nervous system that controls the metabolism. By drinking coffee, you will be boosting your energy levels and stimulating your BMR. But remember, caffeine can be addictive and can potentially have negative affects on your sleep.

    Protein

    Eating plenty of protein is good for you as it builds muscle and helps to maintain healthy body and tissue function. Protein is also proven to make you feel fuller for longer, so you will end up eating less in the long run.

    Green tea

    Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins which are proven to boost your metabolism. If you're not a huge fan of drinking green tea, try adding matcha green tea powder to smoothies, which is ten times more powerful than a regular cup of green tea. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • How To Start Exercising As A Complete Beginner

    running workout exercise beginner get fit

    If you haven't exercised in a long time, if you're overweight, or if you've never exercised at all, the prospect of joining a gym or going for a run can be overwhelming and just down right terrifying. We're here with top tips and advice for getting active as a complete beginner.

    Just start

    There's no better time than right now to change your life. If you've been thinking about getting started for a while but you've been putting it off or making excuses, you need to just start. There will always be a million reasons why you can't get out there, but it won't be until you've broken the ice that it becomes easier. Go ahead and join that gym or buy those running trainers.

    Treating yourself to fresh activewear is a great way to get motivated and start you off in the right frame of mind. Having comfortable, proper gym tops rather than an old t-shirt and a stylish sports bra instead of your normal bra can be the difference between a terrible workout and a great one and will make you want to exercise so that you can show off your new fitness clothing!

    You're already exercising more than you think

    If you take your dog for walks or go walking at the weekend with your family, you have already made a great start! This is an easy base to improve upon, by making those dog walks longer and brisker, and by finding more challenging routes to walk at the weekend with your kids. If you take public transport to work, you perhaps have to walk to the station or from the bus stop to your office. Have confidence in yourself and make sure you know that mentally you're not going from complete scratch. This will make increasing your weekly exercise easier mentally.

    cycling cycle bike riding get fit exercise overweight

    Find a type of training you enjoy

    There are so many ways to workout; you don't have to slog on a treadmill for hours or do some crazy manoeuvre that you saw someone else doing at the gym. Activities like yoga are very low impact and are a great way to build up your base fitness if you haven't moved in a while. Walking is also perfect as it's free and you can do it anywhere! If you do want to try running, you may benefit from group running as it takes the guess work out of it and will mean all you have to do is turn up and run. In the same light, there are many benefits of joining a running club such as companionship and making new friends. 

    Working out when you're overweight

    It can seem very daunting to start exercising when you're overweight. If you're not ready to join a gym or hit the streets with a run, you can easily make a start in the comfort of your own home. Try a home workout that doesn't require any equipment and just uses body weight. By getting up and getting moving, you are making an excellent start.

    When overweight, it's important not to put your joints under too much strain. Start with low impact movements like body weight squats, lunges, and sit ups. Go back to basics with a simple circuit training routine that gets your heart rate up without compromising your health and making you feel like your chest is going to explode!

    Start slow

    If you are coming back from an injury or from having kids, you need to take it slow. There are lots of easy ways to exercise when you have kids, but getting back into it after giving birth can be a scary prospect. Take it slow and always listen to your body.

    If you're looking to try a new sport, break it down into manageable chunks. Activities like cycling are much more accessible than you think and you don't need all the fancy gear to get out there. For something more complex like a triathlon, find a triathlon training plan for absolute beginners that you can follow which guides you through the training process and helps you understand what you need to do to succeed.

    Make it enjoyable!

    One of the biggest reasons why people give up on exercise is because they don't enjoy it. There is absolutely no reason why you need to be forcing yourself to go running or lift weights if you don't enjoy it. These days, there are unlimited ways to get fit from gym classes to dancing and it's all very accessible. There are some surprising ways to get fit like hula hooping and trampolining which are far more fun and enjoyable than pounding the pavements for mile after mile. If you enjoy your workout, you will be far more likely to continue the trend and stick to it.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 4 Ways To Manage Stress With Exercise

    stress anxiety relief manage freedom exercise

    Most of us will feel stressed at one time or another, but in these modern times more and more of us are suffering from stress chronically. It's not only bad for you mentally, it's bad for your physical health too. Sundried take a look at 4 easy ways to manage stress on a daily basis in order to protect your health.

    1. Go hiking outdoors

    Fresh air will boost your immune system and energise you with fresh oxygen. Getting a healthy dose of fresh air each day will help to combat stress and alleviate the related symptoms. People who work in office jobs tend to be chained to their desks and it can be a struggle to get any fresh air or even daylight from day to day, especially in winter. Going for a hike outdoors is a great form of exercise and can be great fun too. Not only is it good for your physical health, you'll end up finding new places and exploring parts of your local area you never even knew existing, boosting your mental health and well being too. 

    hiking trekking outdoor fitness fun friends

    2. Go for a long run

    Sometimes stress follows us home from work. Perhaps your stress is stemming from family or home life and you just need to get away. It's not practical to get up and run away, but going for a long solo run is the next best thing. The exercise will give you an endorphin boost and help to melt away your stress, which can harm your health if you suffer from it long term. It can also help you to manage your thoughts and process everything that's going on in your life at any given time. It'll give you time away to be alone with your thoughts and allow you to make plans and come up with ideas that you might not be able to otherwise.

    distance running desert ultra marathon stress Sundried

    3. Practice yoga

    It's no secret that practising yoga and meditating is great for battling stress. It has even been found that certain types of yoga can ease the suffering of cancer patients. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to meditate and relax will do you a world of good and can be an ocean of calm in an otherwise hectic day. If you're not sure what to wear to yoga, Sundried have a handy guide you can follow. However, you don't need to go to a specific class in order to practice yoga; you can find a quiet space at home and listen to a guided meditation.

    Mountain top yoga position Sundried yoga clothing women's

    4. Make exercise fun

    If your workout or training session is something you can look forward to each day, you will be more likely to stick to your training plan and not skip sessions. Having a fun and enjoyable training session planned for after work or at lunchtime will mean you have a goal and something to look forward to. It may help the day go quicker and will keep your spirits high throughout the day. Exercise can be your time with no distractions and no one asking anything of you.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren