Get Inspired: From Health Warnings to Half Marathons

Sometimes, the biggest barriers to improving health are mental – lots of people feel like they’re just “not the sort of person” who goes to the gym, or eats salad, and so on.

Nudjed is on a mission to prove that anybody is capable of being as healthy as they want to be.

To inspire you, we’ve been following and supporting a group of runners as they train for the Cardiff Half Marathon. Below, two of our case studies talk about their experiences during training, their motivation for taking part, and the positive changes they’ve noticed since they committed to improving their health.


 

Alan

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Alan was diagnosed with diabetes 16 years ago. At the time he was overweight and self-conscious about his size, and his doctor told him that he needed to lose weight to avoid needing daily insulin injections.

I didn’t feel comfortable in going out [to run], the size I was, because I was 17 and a half stone at the time,” he told us. He started off by buying some exercise equipment for his home, gradually building up from walking short distances to running 5k over the space of six weeks.

“From there it was a case of, well, the nights are getting darker… I can probably let myself go out on the street once in a while now. The first time I did it I managed to do about 200 yards and it was like, ‘I’ve got to stop, I’m way out of breath.’ Running outside was totally different to being on the treadmill.”

Alan persevered, alternating between running and walking to build up his endurance, and began to see the resulting weight loss.

“I’ve lost around 3 stone 10 now, and it’s helped no end. It’s brought my sugars under control, and at my annual checkup with the doctor in June I found out that I’m a lot healthier overall. My cholesterol levels have never been better.”

Taking control of his health gave Alan the confidence to overcome other obstacles as they appeared.

“I was having some pain in my hips while running, and it turns out that I’d developed arthritis. So then it was a case of digging into the running world to find out how to cope with that – I had to change my stride pattern completely, but it’s gradually getting better. I’ve also taken up yoga, which has been really great for me. Since I started that, about 8 weeks ago, I’ve become a lot my flexible, especially in my hips – and the yoga stretches are great when I’m warming up or cooling down from a run.

My body has been getting stronger and more supportive – the more I do, the easier it gets. I did a 12 mile run on Sunday, and normally after that the backs of my legs and my quads are in agony, but this time I didn’t feel a thing!”

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Alan has gone from strength to strength since he started running, and has now completed races including the Newport Half Marathon and the Cardiff Bay 5 Mile Run. Through his running at these events, he’s raised over £500 for cancer and diabetes charities. And the health benefits aren’t the only positive outcomes – Alan says his friends, family and customers at work have all commented on how healthy he looks.

“My legs have gone from these things that looked like tree trunks to the point where I can see actual muscles! And I notice the little things, like having more energy to play football with my kids in the garden, where before I would need to stop for a breather every 10 minutes.

“My self-confidence has improved massively as well. Like I said, when I started I was too self-conscious to go out in public – now it doesn’t matter, I’ll stretch out in the front garden, I don’t care. Sometimes I do get heckled; the other day there was a group of kids shouting things, but I just turned to them and said, ‘Join me for 13 miles and then you can take the mickey.’ At the end of the day, I’m not doing this for anyone else, I’m doing it for me, and I don’t care what anyone says.”

Frances

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Most of us can probably relate to Frances – she’s always been conscious of her weight, and has struggled to avoid the temptation of overeating and drinking too much. Although she knew she should be eating more healthily, and tried hard during the week, she found herself spending weekends in front of the TV with wine and snacks. After having her third child, she decided she was fed up with the constant cycle of losing and gaining weight. Her fitness journey started with a classic New Year’s Resolution, and she signed up for the Pontypool Home Run 10k in February to motivate her to stick with it.

“I just started like you do every year, cutting out all the bad stuff, but I wasn’t really getting anywhere…I thought there was no way I was going to be able to do the 10k. I nearly didn’t do it by my husband said, ‘Come on, it doesn’t matter if you walk it or run it, let’s just do it.’ I was really nervous and anxious but I did it, and I actually did run all the way around – really slowly! There was a photographer, and seeing the pictures of myself I thought I looked huge; so the confidence boost from finishing the race, and the feeling that I wanted to look better, both motivated me to keep going.

Frances says that although running wasn’t something she found easy, it gave her a massive sense of accomplishment.

“It was really hard, and lots of times I felt like, ‘I want to stop now.’ But I feel so proud that I’ve stuck with it. Other runners are really friendly as well, they always say hi! Everyone’s on that same journey of trying to get better.”

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Alongside taking up running, Frances has been focusing on eating better and says that having a good diet has helped her both physically and mentally.

“I’m definitely on more of an even keel,” she tells us. “I’ve cut down on sugar, and it’s really helped my mood…I feel like a different person. I used to constantly be thinking, ‘What can I eat?’ Now I don’t really get cravings, just that genuine stomach rumbling when I’m really hungry, and then I know I actually need to eat. It feels good to know you’re being good to yourself – and now I can drink a glass of wine without feeling horribly guilty. I definitely think these are going to be permanent changes, because they’ve improved my life so much.”

Frances has now completed races including the Caerphilly 10k and the Bournemouth quarter marathon, and achieved her Personal Best time in the Blaenavon 10k recently.

“I did 10 miles the other day and it just feels like it’s actually doable now. When I finish a race, it feels so good. When I did the first one earlier this year, my husband was at the finish line and he ran towards me and I was actually crying – I felt like a bit of an idiot, but it was emotional.”


Frances and Alan are proof that anyone can improve their health – start by making some small changes, and figure out what works for you. The benefits you’ll gain are well worth it!

 

Yoga – Downward Facing Dog

Downward facing dog is a resting pose, ideal for recovery during an intense routine. It stretches the legs and back and is a great pose to try after a long day sat by a desk.


Yoga Instructions - Downward Facing Dog

Spread your feet shoulder width apart ensuring your weight is evenly balanced and spread your toes.


Keeping your back straight, bend forward from your waist and press your palms flat on the floor, fingers pointing forward and spread apart (You can bend your knees if you need to).


Step each foot back so you’re in a push-up position, arms extended, hands beneath your shoulders, palms flat on the floor.


Slowly raise your hips toward the ceiling keeping your hands and feet in position. Your body should make an inverted ‘V’ shape.


Gently push your chest toward your knees. Try to keep your eyes on your toes and press your heels toward the floor.


Breathe deeply, holding the pose for up to a minute. As you exhale, move more deeply into the pose.

Yoga – Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose is one of the most basic Yoga poses. Simple and solid, it’s the start of many Yoga routines. Here we explain how it’s done in 7 detailed steps.


Yoga Instructions - Mountain Pose


Whilst standing with you feet together, close your eyes. Imagine that you are planted to the ground, like a mountain.


In a gentle motion, rock back and forth from the balls to the heels of your feet, finding a strong, even resting point. Attempt to spread your toes slightly, to give yourself an even stronger base.


Open your eyes, keeping your head level. Softly bend your knees and then straighten them to Loosen your leg joints. Make sure your knees are directly over your ankles.


Curl out your pelvis and try to straighten your spine as much as possible. Try to imagine the alignment between your spine, hips, knees and ankles. This helps to minimise pressure on one area.


Lift your chest away from your stomach, extending your spine. Then relax your throat and lengthen your neck, as if a cord is being pulled directly up, on your head.


Press down evenly into the floor with your feet and slowly raise your arms above your head.Think about pushing down with your feet, whilst stretching your finger-tips above your head.


Keeping your gaze straight ahead breathe deeply. Try to retain your balance (this may take a little practice), and hold the pose for 30 seconds.

Toning Up – The Science

Here is the complete guide to everything you need to know about toning up.

  • What is toning up?
  • How can you tone up?
  • Can you tone up in different areas?

What is toning up?

(Source:www.fitnessvsweightloss.com)

Toning up is a common thing many of us want to achieve through various tummy, arm or bum exercises. But what exactly is it?

It often get’s misused as a standalone concept, away from fat loss and muscle bulking. However, without a combination of the two toning up wouldn’t be an option.

Toning happens when you remove layers of fat between the muscles and the skin. It is here that your muscles can then be become more noticeable, firm and refined, giving you a toned look. Overall, when you tone up you are essentially losing fat and gaining muscle.

How can you tone up?

We can get more noticeably leaner, more trimmed and firm by undertaking a combination of 3 activities.

 

 

 

http-::www.healthline.com:health:importance-strength-training-women

(Source:www.healthline.com)

Weight lifting

Weight training is the perfect way to lose weight and develop leaner looking muscles, without bulking them out. As you push your muscles gradually with weights, they get stronger.

If practised regularly, your muscle cells then start to develop leaner protein that is noticeable. This is good because your growing muscles will continue to require more energy than fat cells, pushing up your metabolism rate to use more energy from the fat stores. Ultimately, your fat cells then shrink leaving you looking more toned.

To find out how to lift check out our blog and challenge sections.

Nutrition

70% of your weight loss comes from the right diet. To shed pounds and get a little more toned, you have to choose foods which are full of nutrients, making it harder for body to break these nutrients away from one another. This prevents sugar highs and sugar lows during digestion. As a result, your body is not desperately seeking any more food, reducing sugar fluctuations in the blood and making you feel less hungry for longer. You have not consumed any excess calories, so less of them get stored as fat.

Getting a good balance between the combination below is important for achieving tone:

  • Leaner proteins
  • Browner carbohydrates
  • Healthier Fats

To find out more about these visit our relevant blogs and challenges here to get more nutrition into your diet.

Interval training

To counteract the weight gain through any excess calories consumed, it necessary to use them up through physical activity. We can do this efficiently by having the perfect cardiovascular combination of high to low intensity workouts.

Interval training is well known for its “afterburn effect”. After only 20 minutes of a cardiovascular workout, you can still be burning fat when you’re sat on your sofa.
This is known as “excess-post-exercise oxygen consumption” (EPEOC). The more exercise you do, the more oxygen you consume. This causes your metabolic rate to be higher because the more you are using up energy and hence calories. This energy is taken from the quick breakdown of fats as they are more calories dense, leading to fat loss.

To find out more about interval training, check out our challenges and blog.

5-Things-Tuesday-Interval-Training-Whats-the-Fuss-All-About

(Source:www.myfitstation.com)

Can you tone up in different areas?

Let’s firstly dispel the myth that you can tone up in certain areas, otherwise commonly known as “spot reduction”. There are loads of tummy, bottom and thigh “tone up” exercises out there to chose from.

Here’s why they don’t work:

1. The muscle areas that you work upon does not reflect the fat areas your are trying to lose to tone up and look leaner

Fat cells are made up triglycerides which cannot be directly converted energy for the muscle cells to keep functioning. Fat loss occurs through the breakdown of triglycerides into free fatty acids and glycerides. these fat components are then let loose into the bloodstream and are then used as energy.

Forget about the specifics, research shows that fat loss can come from any part of the body leading to a reduction in your total body fat.

2. Many of the spot reduction tone up techniques do not allow you to burn many calories compared to other workouts.

To lose fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume within your food. If you cannot exceed the calorie levels of your food, then you will either stay at the same weight or even gain weight. Calories are the energy components of your food that if left unspent during inactive times are stored as fat within your cells.

5 Scientific Tips to help you lose weight sustainably…

Diet trends come and go in fads. We believe good health should be based on Science, not marketing. Here are our top 5 tips to help you shed fat sustainably.


Know your BMR
Know your BMR. Use our calculator, sign up for Nudjed (which calculates it for you), use someone else’s calculator, do the math yourself. We don’t care how, just go do it.


Make a food diary
Control your calorific intake. Try keeping a food (and drink) diary for a few days, it will help you understand where you’re getting your energy from.


Cut down on Sugar
Get your calories from healthier foods. This means less processed and more fresh. Sugar will hamper you when you’re trying to reduce energy intake.


Boost your Heart-rate
Do regular exercise. A long walk, a slow jog, a nice swim. Anything that raises your heart-rate, will increase your energy consumption.


Don't crash diet

Think long term. If you get tired, you may not be eating enough, or at the right times. If you start to drastically lose weight, ease off, don’t starve yourself.


The ins and outs of toning up

Here is the complete guide to everything you need to know about toning up.

  • What is toning up?
  • How can you tone up?
  • Can you tone up in different areas?

What is toning up?

(Source:www.fitnessvsweightloss.com)

Toning up is a common thing many of us want to achieve through various tummy, arm or bum exercises. But what exactly is it?

It often get’s misused as a standalone concept, away from fat loss and muscle bulking. However, without a combination of the two toning up wouldn’t be an option.

Toning happens when you remove layers of fat between the muscles and the skin. It is here that your muscles can then be become more noticeable, firm and refined, giving you a toned look. Overall, when you tone up you are essentially losing fat and gaining muscle.

How can you tone up?

We can get more noticeably leaner, more trimmed and firm by undertaking a combination of 3 activities.

 

 

 

http-::www.healthline.com:health:importance-strength-training-women

(Source:www.healthline.com)

Weight lifting

Weight training is the perfect way to lose weight and develop leaner looking muscles, without bulking them out. As you push your muscles gradually with weights, they get stronger.

If practised regularly, your muscle cells then start to develop leaner protein that is noticeable. This is good because your growing muscles will continue to require more energy than fat cells, pushing up your metabolism rate to use more energy from the fat stores. Ultimately, your fat cells then shrink leaving you looking more toned.

To find out how to lift check out our blog and challenge sections.

Nutrition

70% of your weight loss comes from the right diet. To shed pounds and get a little more toned, you have to choose foods which are full of nutrients, making it harder for body to break these nutrients away from one another. This prevents sugar highs and sugar lows during digestion. As a result, your body is not desperately seeking any more food, reducing sugar fluctuations in the blood and making you feel less hungry for longer. You have not consumed any excess calories, so less of them get stored as fat.

Getting a good balance between the combination below is important for achieving tone:

  • Leaner proteins
  • Browner carbohydrates
  • Healthier Fats

To find out more about these visit our relevant blogs and challenges here to get more nutrition into your diet.

Interval training

To counteract the weight gain through any excess calories consumed, it necessary to use them up through physical activity. We can do this efficiently by having the perfect cardiovascular combination of high to low intensity workouts.

Interval training is well known for its “afterburn effect”. After only 20 minutes of a cardiovascular workout, you can still be burning fat when you’re sat on your sofa.
This is known as “excess-post-exercise oxygen consumption” (EPEOC). The more exercise you do, the more oxygen you consume. This causes your metabolic rate to be higher because the more you are using up energy and hence calories. This energy is taken from the quick breakdown of fats as they are more calories dense, leading to fat loss.

To find out more about interval training, check out our challenges and blog.

5-Things-Tuesday-Interval-Training-Whats-the-Fuss-All-About

(Source:www.myfitstation.com)

Can you tone up in different areas?

Let’s firstly dispel the myth that you can tone up in certain areas, otherwise commonly known as “spot reduction”. There are loads of tummy, bottom and thigh “tone up” exercises out there to chose from.

Here’s why they don’t work:

1. The muscle areas that you work upon does not reflect the fat areas your are trying to lose to tone up and look leaner

Fat cells are made up triglycerides which cannot be directly converted energy for the muscle cells to keep functioning. Fat loss occurs through the breakdown of triglycerides into free fatty acids and glycerides. these fat components are then let loose into the bloodstream and are then used as energy.

Forget about the specifics, research shows that fat loss can come from any part of the body leading to a reduction in your total body fat.

2. Many of the spot reduction tone up techniques do not allow you to burn many calories compared to other workouts.

To lose fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume within your food. If you cannot exceed the calorie levels of your food, then you will either stay at the same weight or even gain weight. Calories are the energy components of your food that if left unspent during inactive times are stored as fat within your cells.