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Bingo wings is an odd, rather unflattering expression. It refers to the fatty skin under the triceps at the top of the arm. Rumour has it that bingo wings got its name from women waving their arms with their winning ticket at bingo, with the flabby skin resembling a wing.

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Whether this is true or not, the reality is, people with bingo wings don’t feel like they’re winners. In fact, 75% of British women declare their upper arms their least favourite part of their body, often feeling self-conscious wearing strappy, arm-bearing tops in summer. Some Brits are so unhappy with their bingo wings that they even avoid waving in public!

The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to send your bingo wings packing, leaving you with firm, toned upper arms that you’ll be proud to show off.

Healthy diet

Bingo wings are essentially an accumulation of fat in the upper arms, so if you want to get rid of them, you need to watch your fat intake. Eat a healthy diet rich in wholegrains, fruit and vegetables, and drink plenty of water to flush out toxins. Some studies suggest that a diet high in leafy green veg can help to bust bingo wings, as these type of veg can speed up fat loss and rebalance hormones linked with the formation of tricep fat.

Exfoliate

Get into the habit of exfoliating your upper arms to improve circulation in this area and banish toxins. This helps to leave your skin looking softer, fresher and firmer.

Clever dressing

Don’t let your bingo wings dictate what you wear when summer arrives. You can still expose your upper arms and look great with a little bit of clever dressing. If you wear strappy tops, choose those with thick straps rather than thin ones, to make your arms look thinner. Tops with frills or puffy sleeves are also a great choice for taking attention away from your arms.

Get toned

If you really want to make a difference to your upper arms, you need to factor exercises into the equation. Many exercises that banish bingo wings are easy to do and don’t require taking out a gym membership. You can even do some firming up movements sitting down while watching TV. You won’t notice your bingo wings magically disappear overnight, so be patient. Do exercises that tone the arms for about eight weeks, at least a couple of times per week to make a difference. Here are some top exercises to try.

Alternating bicep curls

Take a dumbbell in each hand (or a can of beans!), with arms to your sides. Slowly raise one arm, bending at the elbow, as you bring the dumbbell towards your shoulder. Lower the arm and then repeat with the other arm. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Swimming

Swimming works all of the muscles in the body, but is especially beneficial for getting your arms in shape. All types of strokes are great for upper arms, so pick your favourite and head to the pool at least two or three times per week.

Chair dip

Watch TV while you wave goodbye to your bingo wings with this exercise. Simply sit on the edge of a chair, with your hands facing forward. Move your feet forwards so your hips aren’t resting on the chair. Gently lower yourself, using your arms, so that your backside is almost touching the floor. Pull yourself back up onto the chair again, using your arms. Repeat several times.

Front raise

With dumbbells held in each hand and arms flat in front of you, gently raise one arm up to shoulder height, keeping your arm straight. Lower and repeat on the other arm. Aim for about 10 repetitions.

Wall press

Floor press-ups are great for toning your triceps but if you want something a bit easier but equally as effective, do press-ups against a wall instead.

Yoga

The benefits of yoga are enormous for both the mind and body, but there are certain poses that you can focus on to shift upper arm flab. The plank, downward-facing dog and sun salutations all strengthen and tone the triceps.

The post Bust your bingo wings appeared first on Strength & Steroids.

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With the vast range of styles, colours and brands of trainers available, you’re spoiled for choice. However, if you play sports, choosing the wrong footwear could cause pain and injuries, since different activities exert pressure on various parts of the feet.

Indeed, 65% of Brits wear the wrong trainers when doing sports, suggesting that knowing what to look for when choosing trainers is vital to protect you and your feet.

© auremar / Adobe Stock

Activity type

Many of us focus on fashion when it comes to buying new trainers, but functionality and purpose should take priority. Each sport places different demands on the foot, so you should buy trainers according to the various movements involved with a particular activity.

For example, running involves forward motion only, so you’ll need footwear that lets the foot easily bend and flex with each step, firmly focusing on cushioning and support. On the other hand, racquet sports such as tennis involve a lot of sideways movements, so you’ll need trainers that provide extra stability and accommodate for plenty of stop-and-go, lateral actions. Running shoes aren’t heavy or stiff enough to cope with racquet-based sports. However, running or racquet trainers probably won’t do the job for those who do a lot of hill walking. In this case, you’ll need trainers that emphasise extra ankle support. Ankle protection is also important when looking for trainers for hockey, while grips on the soles are vital for football and lacrosse.

Therefore, always think about the sports activity you intend to use the trainers for when purchasing a new pair. If you do a number of activities with similar foot movements, such as racquet sports or netball, a pair of cross trainers may suit your needs.

Cushioning

A decent pair of trainers should feel comfortable from the moment you put them on your feet (forget about the concept of ‘wearing them in’). They should provide adequate levels of cushioning and support, especially for those activities involving any kind of impact.

Cushioning requirements vary for different activities. For instance, if you’re a jogger, you need trainers that provide cushioning at the heel, while those who do aerobics and other studio activities should look for trainers with cushioning at the front of the footwear.

Specialist guidance

Since there’s so much to consider when buying sports trainers, it’s often a wise idea to visit a specialist store to get expert guidance – particularly so if you’re into running.

Staff will be able to ascertain your specific running style, or gait, and how your feet impact the ground, providing supportive and shock-absorbing footwear that takes these individual factors into account. They may also be able to gauge your gait by the wear pattern on your footwear so take your current trainers with you.

Staff will also ask what activities the footwear will be used for, what surfaces they’ll be used on and whether you have any existing injuries.

When trying trainers on, always stand up and move around in them and never get your feet measured when you’re sat down. The perfect fit is essential, so there should be no more than a thumbnail’s width from the front of the trainer and the end of your longest toe (not necessarily your big toe!).

Bring along the socks that you intend to wear with your trainers when you try new ones on. You can avoid buying trainers that are too tight by shopping in the afternoon rather than the morning – your feet tend to swell as the day progresses.

Gender specific

Research conducted by Nike has concluded that women’s feet are shaped differently to men’s, where females have higher arches, narrower heels and broader forefeet. With this in mind, purchase trainers designed specifically for your own gender.

Price

Sports trainers protect and cushion your feet, helping to prevent injuries, so it stands to reason that you should invest in a decent pair. Studies have shown that three quarters of runners spend about £70-£80 on a pair of trainers, but you can pay less as well as more than this – depending on your budget.

Durability

How much you use the trainers will influence how long they’ll last. Typically, trainers need replacing after every 500 miles of usage, but this is a rough estimate. If the tread starts to wear, if the shoe doesn’t sit flat, it loses bounce, or you start experiencing aches and pains in your feet after exercising, then it’s probably high time you got a new pair of trainers.

The post Essential guide to choosing the right trainers appeared first on Strength & Steroids.

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Think of ballet and images of little girls in pink tutus spring to mind. But, with ballet’s raft of health benefits, even adults are now eager to get a piece of the action.

Whether you’re new to ballet or haven’t done a plié in years, there are plenty of compelling reasons to join one of the increasing numbers of adult ballet classes.

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Full-body workout

Ballet works every muscle in your body, so if you’re looking for a top-to-toe exercise, you can’t get better than this. Ballet movements tone muscles (especially the glutes), improve core strength and boost flexibility. Certainly, if Pilates isn’t your thing, ballet makes for a viable alternative offering many similar health benefits.

Better posture

Many adults have sedentary jobs or are slouched over a computer all day long. This can lead to poor posture as well as aches and pains in the back and neck. The beauty of attending regular ballet classes is that it helps to address these issues. By perfecting the ballet stance, you achieve better body posture and alignment. Studies have even demonstrated that ballet can play a useful role in combating osteoporosis, arthritis and scoliosis.

Boost co-ordination and balance

Since movements in ballet aren’t isolated, it’s a great form of exercise for anyone looking to hone their body co-ordination and balance. Research has shown that ballet improves stamina, especially for those moves that need to be held for prolonged periods of time. Many ballet enthusiasts also find that the improved balance and co-ordination they gain makes it easier to bend and lift during everyday activities.

Weight loss

If losing a few pounds is top of your agenda, ballet can assist with this aim. Ballet movements can be quite energetic and complex, whether you perform at a barre or move around to music, helping to tone your body and shed the fat. This can also improve your self-confidence and body image.

Cardiovascular health

The full range of body movements from this low-impact activity will get your heart pumping when performed continuously and quickly. This is great news for anyone looking to boost their cardiovascular health.

Foot work

Ballet is one of the best activities for strengthening the entire foot and ankles, since many moves require exerting weight on the toes and engaging all the foot muscles. Wigan Warriors’ rugby team took up ballet lessons, where players noted a stark improvement in their foot strength back on the pitch.

Improve brain function

Ballet stimulates the brain, boosting your ability to learn and memorise facts. Both the left and right side of the brain are used to memorise ballet movements and co-ordinate these to music. Studies have shown that activities that get the brain in gear can stave off dementia in later life.

There’s also a creative and arty element associated with ballet, where you can use movements to express how you feel, further stimulating a part of your brain.

Stress release

Any form of exercise is a great tonic to relieve stress, but ballet is especially good as it combines movement with music – another stress buster. Since you’re also concentrating on co-ordinating moves to the music, it’s a mindful practice that keeps any other worries at bay.

Sociable

Ballet doesn’t just benefit the body, it’s also good for your social well-being. Joining an adult ballet class is a handy way to meet new people, where you might also choose to attend ballet performances or other associated activities together.

The post Join a ballet class to improve your fitness appeared first on Strength & Steroids.

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Pets are important to Brits: one-in-four of us owns a dog, while nearly one-in-five people have a cat. Quite simply, owning a pet is a pleasure, but mounting research also suggests that it’s good for our mental health. Indeed, one survey found that 74% of people enjoyed improved mental health benefits from owning a pet. Here’s how this is possible.

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Exercise

It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise if you’re feeling down, but you’ll have no choice if you own a dog. Your pooch will demand daily walks, and while this makes him or her happy, it can make you feel good, too.

Getting some exercise and fresh air can boost feel-good hormones and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exercise also encourages you to sleep better at night, which can help support your mental wellbeing.

Reduce loneliness

Loneliness is a major concern in today’s society, with studies showing that people who are socially isolated experience a higher risk of feeling depressed. Owning a pet provides vital companionship to counteract loneliness, and those who have difficulty forming friendships often find it much easier to connect with a pet.

One study found that pet owners living alone aged 60+ were four times less likely to succumb to depression than those who didn’t own a pet. Older people who own a pet also visit their GP 30% less compared to non-pet owners.

Plus, pets are a great facilitator of social interaction. When you’re out walking your dog, waiting at the vets or attending a pet-related event, it’s an easy way to strike up a conversation and interact with fellow pet owners.

Lower stress levels

Researchers have concluded that if you own a pet, your reaction to stressful events tends to be lower compared to those who don’t own a pet. In fact, the blood pressure of study participants was measured during a stressful situation, and the results confirmed that those who owned a pet experienced lower blood pressure readings.

It’s easy to see why pets make us feel less stressed. Playing with them, or hugging and stroking them, invokes a sense of relaxation and calm. Studies have shown that when you stroke a pet, the brain is flooded with the happy hormones, serotonin and dopamine.

It seems you don’t even have to own a pet to benefit from the stress-relief effects. One study found that simply watching fish at an aquarium had the ability to lower pulse rate and reduce muscular tension in participants.

Distraction

Whether you’re feeling worried, anxious or low, having a pet that demands your attention helps to put any negative feelings to one side. Looking after a pet also gives a person a sense of purpose, responsibility, security and routine. You might struggle to drag yourself out of bed if you’re feeling low, but when you own a pet you need to get up and feed it and take care of it.

Bonding

Interacting or bonding with your pet is thought to release a chemical in the brain called oxytocin. This so-called love chemical puts you on a high, helping to keep a low mood and anxiety at bay.

Increased self-esteem

Pets accept a person for who they are without judging them, which can boost a person’s confidence and self-worth. In fact, this can become apparent from an early age, where studies have revealed that children who own a pet whilst growing up report higher levels of self-esteem and social skills. Children with ADHD and autism also report improvements in their concentration and behaviour when exposed to pets.

The post Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Pet appeared first on Strength & Steroids.

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As more and more people take an interest in the provenance of their food, there’s a growing trend to grow your own. Whether you plant up a pot of herbs on your windowsill or devote a patch of your plot to growing fruit and veg, growing your own comes with a raft of health benefits.

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High in nutrients

It stands to reason that fruit and veg you’ve grown yourself is tastier, fresher and more nutritious than that found on supermarket shelves.

The way that shop-bought produce is picked, packaged and stored is often geared towards how a product looks rather than how it tastes, with little regard for nutritional content. Indeed, many items of fruit and veg are picked when they’re not ripe, and stored for weeks, where nutrient levels can dramatically diminish by the time they reach your plate. On the other hand, picking items straight from the garden and eating immediately keeps nutrients at peak levels. This is great news for the health of you and your family.

Scientists at Kew Gardens have concluded that home-grown tomatoes contain higher levels of antioxidant compounds called phenols, compared to mass-produced ones. Some home-grown varieties even tasted three times sweeter than those found in the shops.

Researchers have also shown that people who grow their own fruit and veg are more likely to achieve their ‘five a day’ allowance than those who don’t.

Fewer pesticides

Unless you commit to buying all organic produce, you simply can’t be sure what pesticides have been sprayed onto the fruit and veg you buy. Washing items with water is often not enough to remove every trace of pesticide residue. Studies how shown that exposure to foods high in pesticides can cause kidney and lung problems, nausea, mental health issues and some forms of cancer.

When you grow your own crops, you’re in control of what you spray – or not – onto them. Indeed, many items of fruit and veg can grow perfectly happily without needing to be laced with chemicals to keep pests at bay or make them a uniform shape and size. Should crops suffer an attack from aphids or other bugs, then non-toxic biological controls, or simply spraying with soapy water, can do the trick.

Exercise

Growing your own food is much more than just eating healthy, fresh produce. The act of tending to crops is good exercise in itself, where studies have shown that gardening can burn up to 400 calories in just one hour. All that fresh air is also great news for your health, especially if you’re looking to top up your vitamin D levels from the sunshine. Vitamin D is vital for good bone health, and with one-in-five Brits suffering from inadequate levels, this is reason enough to get outside and sow a seed or two.

Mental health benefits

The physical benefits of growing your own food are obvious, but your mental wellbeing also reaps rewards from this activity.

Growing your own fruit or veg can give you an immense sense of satisfaction and achievement, helping to boost your confidence and self-esteem. Many items are also super-easy to grow and are very forgiving if you occasionally forget to water them. This makes it ideal if you want to get children involved.

Learning where food comes from and eating according to the seasons also puts you more in tune with nature, further boosting your wellbeing.

Fans of growing your own can also enjoy peace of mind that they’re saving money, and making a positive contribution to the environment by not purchasing plastic-wrapped produce that’s stacked with air miles.

The post Health Benefits of Growing your Own Food appeared first on Strength & Steroids.

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Obesity is a major global problem – and the situation doesn’t look to be improving any time soon. Statistics show that worldwide 107.7 million children and a staggering 603.7 million adults are classed as obese, with rates of obesity doubling since 1980 alone.

As such a current hot topic, being informed about the health risks of obesity can help to tackle this global epidemic, but there’s a lot more to this issue than meets the eye. Here are some surprising facts about obesity.

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The seeds are sown before you’re born

Clearly, what you eat and how active you are hugely influence whether you will become obese, but it’s actually not as simple as that. Researchers have found that your risk for becoming obese is sealed before you’re even born, with children of obese parents more likely to end up overweight themselves. Indeed, pregnant mums who are obese during the first trimester are twice as likely to have babies who also become obese. Further studies conclude that if nothing is done to tackle obesity by the age of five, it can be much harder to overcome.

Genes play a role

While a person is in control of whether they become obese or not, in some cases it might not be their fault. Studies have shown that a very small number of people may possess rogue genes that encourage extra amounts of glucose to enter cells, causing the body to store more weight.

Increased risk of birth defects

Scientists have discovered that obese mums are more likely to have babies that have birth defects. In fact, if you have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more, you’re 23% more likely to have a baby with birth defects compared to mums with a BMI in the normal range.

Obesity could destroy the NHS

Currently, the NHS spends around £5bn annually on diseases associated with obesity, but this figure is set to rise to £15bn over the next few years. One-tenth of the NHS budget is devoted to tackling type 2 diabetes, an illness associated with being overweight. With almost a third of the UK population teetering on the edge of getting type 2 diabetes, obesity could cause the NHS to go under if the situation doesn’t improve soon.

Who you hang out with could influence your obesity risk

Studies have shown that people who live in poorer areas are more likely to succumb to obesity, but no sector of the population is immune. Statistics reveal that almost two-out-of-three people in the UK carry more weight than they should, and you’re more likely to do so if your friends or neighbours are also overweight. It’s not clear why this is the case, but it could be due to the fact that seeing overweight people close to you could normalise the situation.

Don’t rely on liposuction

Liposuction might seem like a quick fix to getting rid of excess flab, but it’s not quite as simple as that. Although liposuction banishes superficial fat, it doesn’t remove the excess fat that surrounds the body’s organs. It is this fat, known as visceral fat, which can cause health problems.

Obesity can reduce your lifespan

Being obese can take up to ten years off your life, with at least 2.8 million people dying from obesity-related illnesses annually. It’s not just ill health from being overweight that can reduce your lifespan, but researchers have concluded that if you’re in a car crash and you’re obese, you’re 80% more likely to not survive it.

Being obese can make for grim reading, but the good news is that anyone can make a difference to their weight, with the right help and support.

The post Surprising Facts about Obesity appeared first on Strength & Steroids.

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Warmer days are always welcoming, but if the thought of exposing your flesh is filling you with dread, it’s time to take some action. Here are some effective ways to get your body primed for hitting the beach.

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Make a plan

If you want to look and feel good in a bikini this summer, there’s no time like the present to get started. Rather than having vague ideas about getting in shape, you need to make a plan of action that consists of specific goals and activities.

You’re more likely to stick to your plan if you write it down and tick activities off as you go along. Be realistic, however, with regards to how much you can achieve in your given time frame.

Add protein to your diet

Include a source of good-quality protein with each meal, such as lean meat, fish, eggs or legumes. Protein is not only filling (which can prevent you from snacking in-between meals), but research has also shown that it can aid with weight loss, and even reduce dreaded cellulite.

Keep a food diary

Write down what you eat and drink daily, and identify any unhealthy items that could stand in the way of you achieving your beach body dreams. Cut back on sugar, alcohol, saturated fats and refined carbs such as white bread. Be mindful of eating foods that also cause tummy bloating, such as leafy green veg or beans, or foods high in salt that can retain water in this part of the body. Speaking of water, make sure you drink plenty of it. This helps to prevent bloating and can banish toxins from your body that may contribute to cellulite.

Improve your posture

Standing up straight instead of slouching instantly makes your middle section appear slimmer, so get into the habit of holding yourself upwards with a few posture-enhancing exercises. Yoga and pilates are especially ideal, but you can also improve your core by focusing on crunches, leg lifts and plank exercises.

Tone your upper back

It stands to reason that you’ll want to focus on exercises that tone the tummy, buttocks and thighs, but don’t neglect your upper back. Upper back muscles that are well-defined can make your waistline appear slimmer, so add exercises such as bent over dumbell rows into your routine.

Lifestyle changes

Exercises can help to target specific parts of the body that you want to tone up for days on the beach, but there are plenty of other ways you can help to get your body beach ready. Many of these involve making simple lifestyle changes that can get you more active, such as taking the stairs instead of the lift or getting off the bus one stop earlier.

Focus on beachwear

Hang your bikini or bathing costume up so that you can see it every day. This will help you to stay motivated in achieving your beach body aims. Regularly try your beachwear on and take photos or body measurements so that you can identify any progress made.

Bear in mind that some colours or styles of beachwear are more flattering than others, so choose ones that fit well and offer good support. Darker colours and vertical stripes can have a slimming effect, for instance.

Even if you don’t resemble an extra from Baywatch by the time summer arrives, try not to feel too self-conscious when you do hit the beach. Wear your beach items with pride and relish the good times.

The post Top Tips to Get your Body Beach Ready appeared first on Strength & Steroids.

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A huge number of people work in offices, and while most of us don’t think twice about the impacts of sitting at a computer from 9-5, it could be bad for our health.

In fact, research has suggested that being actively sedentary for long periods of time could contribute to a whole host of ailments, from heart disease, to obesity and even some cancers.

Some experts even reckon that sitting is worse than smoking, is more dangerous than parachuting, and claims more lives than HIV.

However, even if you’re chained to a chair all day long, there’s no need to quit your job for the sake of your health. There are plenty of ways you can inject some activity into your daily routines, even when you’re desk-bound.

© Elnur / Adobe Stock

Take regular breaks

Avoid turning into a desk potato by taking regular short breaks throughout the working day. Ideally, get up from your seat every hour and walk about for at least five minutes. Go and make a drink, visit the loo or carry out tasks away from your desk, such as filing or photocopying.

It can be hard finding time to take breaks, especially if you’re busy, but set a timer or get up on the hour every hour, to form healthy habits. At the very least, perform some stretches at your desk, as often as you can.

Speak to colleagues

It’s quick and easy to ping an email across to colleagues but this won’t get your muscles moving. Instead, next time you need to communicate with a work chum, get off your chair and go over to talk to them in person. If colleagues are located on another floor, take the stairs to see them, instead of the lift. Similarly, if you need to make a phone call, get up off your seat and walk around as you talk. If you need to thrash out ideas with colleagues, suggest a walk outside to discuss issues rather than sitting in a stuffy boardroom. The fresh air will get your thought processes flowing.

Lunch out

If your lunch break consists of eating a sandwich at your desk while checking friends’ social media updates, you’re not doing your health any favours. Take this time to get away from your desk. Get outside if you can for some fresh air, and if there are sports facilities near by, even better.

Studies have shown that workers who exercise during their lunch break can boost their performance when they return to their desk by around 15%. Crucially, you’re more likely to avoid any post-lunch energy dips if you’ve spent your dinner hour outdoors or doing exercise.

Gadgets and equipment

There are various gadgets and equipment available that can help to make you less sedentary at your desk, so see if any could be used in your working situation. For example, an adjustable desk can be raised so that you work for some of the day while standing. Alternatively, sit on an exercise ball while you work to maintain good posture. For those serious about getting active, a treadmill desk would make a great investment, allowing you to work at a laptop as you get striding. Or, if that sounds too strenuous, why not consider placing a mini exercise bike under your desk so you can pedal as you pound your keyboard?

The post How to Stay Active in a Desk Job appeared first on Strength & Steroids.

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If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re not alone. The average Brit consumes almost 93g of sugar per day – more than twice the global average.

Most of us know that eating too much sugar is bad news, but cutting back is easier said than done. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy, sweet alternatives to choose from when the sugar cravings kick in.

© Kawee / Adobe Stock

Dates

The advantage of eating dates is that you get a sweet hit, but you also get some goodness thrown in, in the form of fibre and protein. Dates are incredibly versatile and can be eaten on their own or added to smoothies or baking as a sugar alternative.

Cinnamon

This tasty spice adds warmth and sweetness to dishes, helping to satisfy your sweet tooth. Studies also show that cinnamon can balance blood sugar levels, further reducing cravings for something sweet.

Grapes

Easily the best go-to food for satisfying a sweet tooth, grapes are also bursting with vitamins C and K, fibre, potassium and antioxidants. If the weather’s hot, munching on frozen grapes will prevent the urge to have an ice cream or another sugar-laden icy treat.

Sweet potatoes

Adding natural sweetness to your main meal means you’re less likely to crave something sugary for pudding, and this is where sweet potatoes really step up to the mark. With their naturally sweet flavour, these fleshy orange tubers are also full of fibre to keep you satiated. They also contain useful amounts of potassium and vitamins A and C.

Dark chocolate

Life would be dull without chocolate, but this sugar-heavy snack is certainly bad news if you’re trying to lay off the sweet stuff. If banishing chocolate altogether isn’t possible, swap to dark chocolate at least. With less sugar, you still get a sweet hit and can benefit from other health perks such as antioxidants, magnesium and B vitamins. Choose dark chocolate with a high cocoa content and combine it with fruit such as strawberries or a banana to really kick the sugar cravings into touch. Don’t go overboard, though – stick to one or two small squares per day.

Fermented foods

Your sugar cravings might be a result of an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. To introduce more good bacteria to the body, consider adding fermented foods to your diet, which are rich in bacteria-friendly probiotics. This includes foods such as sauerkraut, kimchee, tempeh, kefir, pickles and natural yoghurt.

Stress-busting foods

If we’re feeling stressed, we’re more likely to give in to our sugar cravings. So, eating foods that diminish anxious thoughts is a sensible approach to combat the urge for something sweet. Top foods that tackle stress symptoms include green leafy vegetables, turkey, oily fish, berries, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Foods rich in fibre and protein

Sugar cravings are also likely to strike when blood sugar levels dip, and this often happens when we feel hungry. In order to keep blood glucose on an even keel, fill up with foods that make you feel full for longer. Worthy examples are normally high in fibre and/or protein, and include the likes of eggs, lean meat, fish and legumes. One study found that participants who consumed 25% of their calories from foods rich in protein showed a 60% reduction in cravings.

The post Top Foods to Curb Sugar Cravings appeared first on Strength & Steroids.

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A gym bag that is kitted out with essential gear ensures you’ve got everything to hand, just when you need it. But, knowing what to put in the bag is the hard part. Here are some ideas to make the task that bit easier.

© merla / Adobe Stock

Water bottle

A water bottle is probably one of the most important items to pop in your gym bag, as it means you can quench your thirst easily during workouts. It’s also more eco-friendly to bring your own bottle than take single-use plastic cups at the gym’s water fountain. Invest in a good quality reusable bottle that can keep liquids chilled.

Towel

Some gyms provide towels free of charge, whereas at others you have to pay. Either way, it’s always worthwhile sticking a towel in your gym bag when you need to keep the sweat at bay. Avoid large fluffy affairs, however, as they’ll only gobble the space up in your bag, and instead opt for a small, hand towel. A microfibre towel is a worthy choice as it’s great at absorbing moisture and dries quickly.

Deodorant

If you don’t have time to shower after a gym session, you can rely on a quick slick of deodorant to freshen you up, making it a must-have for any gym bag. If you want to save space, opt for a roll-on deodorant rather than a spray can.

Gadgets

If you’re monitoring your workout progress, a reliable fitness tracker is the perfect addition to any gym bag. Choose one that best suits your individual needs and goals. For those who like to exercise to music, don’t forget to pack your MP3 player or phone. Invest in some wireless Bluetooth earbuds to enhance your workout session.

Clothing

Depending on what activity you’re doing at the gym, make sure your bag is packed with the right clothing (or equipment) that offers support, comfort, flexibility and protection. For ladies, a supportive sports bra is essential. A decent pair of trainers and sweat-wicking socks will also earn their place in your gym bag.

Hair care

Keep long hair off your face when exercising by adding a hair bobble or tie to your gym bag. Opt for small travel-sized hair products if you wash your hair after your workout. If you don’t have time for this, a quick spray with a dry shampoo should help to revitalise your locks.

Spare bag

Chuck a spare plastic carrier bag in your gym bag to store any damp items after your session. This will stop the rest of your bag from getting wet.

Muscle rub

If your muscles begin to feel the strain after a workout, a handy muscle rub balm can help to calm them down. There are lots of different varieties to choose from but look for ointments containing soothing menthol and eucalyptus, which not only aid aching muscles but smell refreshing, too.

Snack

To refuel after your exercise session, bung a healthy nutritious snack into your bag that is high in protein. Protein-rich snacks are especially ideal for those looking to sculpt their physique, as protein helps to build muscles after a workout. Plus, if you’ve got a healthy snack in your bag, you’re less likely to be tempted by other post-exercise snacks elsewhere, which might not be as healthy!

The post Essential Fitness Gear for Every Gym Bag appeared first on Strength & Steroids.

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