Every Craig coaching programme is individually designed to meet your own exercise and nutritional needs and goals and delivered through "virtual" coaching and "in-person" instruction.
Based on the success of the previous programme that was run during the spring, you will have another opportunity to participate in 12 Weeks to Vibrant Health from the 24th January till the 10th April. If you are unable to meet those exact dates, it is possible to start earlier or later. It is aimed at individuals who have made the decision to take control of their health and each week is loaded with education and supervised training to help you towards your goals.
Sports people, including cyclists, runners and triathletes will gain a lot from this programme because they will be forced to take a good strong look at their health and lifestyle practices which underpin performance (see Functional Sports Nutrition). It will include resistance and core training for improved stability on the bike or run, nutrition strategies for increased energy and endurance and lifestyle adjustments for improved recovery between sessions.
For more information about this programme and for bookings, see 12 Weeks to Vibrant Health.
Three quarters of the body consists of water and yes, that includes the brain! Amongst other functions, water is required to transport enzymes and nutrients around the body, help digest nutrients, help the kidneys excrete acid and provide moisture for the skin. The body loses about 1.5 litres of water a day through the skin, lungs, intestines and kidneys. Fluid requirements are increased substantially by exercise, whereby, as much as 2 litres can be lost during 1 hour of intensive exercise.
Our minimum water intake should theoretically be 1.5 to 2 litres per day, but fluid intake is very individual, depending on body size, activity levels, calorie intake and climatic conditions. The best forms of fluid include; plain water, diluted fruit juice and herbal teas. However, food can also provide water. For example, 4 pieces of fruit and 4 servings of vegetables will provide about 1 litre of water. Alcohol, tea, coffee and soft drinks have diuretic properties (water loss) and should not be included in what you count as your fluid intake: having said that, if the only fluid that your body is getting is from these sources, it will adapt to hold onto it – the only thing is that the alcohol and caffeine aren’t excreted from the body so readily.
A good indication of correct fluid balance is the condition of the skin. The skin should be soft to the touch and not dry and wrinkly as is the case during dehydration. Also, the urine should be a pale yellow in colour and not bright yellow and smelly (although multivitamins with Vitamin B2 may cause some confusion)!
The source of your water is very important due to contamination and pollution and you can buy various pieces of equipment to clean your water. That is too long to go into now, but take a look at this water article for a more extensive discussion.
Week 4 of "12 Weeks to Vibrant Health" has just completed and the educational topic was 'What's in your Bathroom Cabinet?' Join in with the exercise:
Go to your bathroom cabinet within 1 day of reading this and write down absolutely everything that is in there plus elsewhere in your bathroom (in the ‘Before’ List). Then mark each item as ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’! For many of these items, you will already know which category they fit into, but others might be harder to determine, with product claims such as ‘Shinny Hair’ and ‘Anti-bacterial’ etc.
Here are a few tips to determine the effect that a toiletry product may have on you:
Now that you’ve got a bit of an understanding of the types of products that you have in your bathroom, endeavour to change the contents the next time you go shopping (with agreement from your other half of course). Then repeat the exercise on the ‘After’ List, filling in the scoring system. You will find healthier and more natural toiletry alternatives in most supermarkets and health shops now.
Week 3 of "12 Weeks to Vibrant Health" has just completed and the educational topic was 'What's Under Your Sink?' Join in with the exercise:
Go to your cleaning cupboard within 1 day and write down absolutely everything that is in there. Then mark each item as ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’! For many of these items, you will already know which category they fit into, but others might be harder to determine, with product claims such as ‘Turbo Degreasing’ and ‘Kills Germs Instantly’ etc.
Here are a few tips to determine the effect that a cleaning product may have on you:
Now that you’ve got a bit of an understanding of the types of products that you have under your sink/in your cleaning cupboard, endeavour to change the contents the next time you go shopping (with agreement from your other half of course). Then repeat the exercise on the ‘After’ List, filling in the scoring system. You will find healthier and environmentally-friendly cleaning alternatives in most supermarkets and health shops now.
Week 2 of "12 Weeks to Vibrant Health" has just completed and the educational topic was 'What's in Your Fridge?' Join in with the exercise:
Go to your fridge within 1 day of 'now' and write down absolutely everything that is in there (the ‘Before’ List). Then mark each food as ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’! For many of these items, you will already know which category they fit into, but others might be harder to determine, with health claims on the packet, such as ‘low in fat’, ‘low GI’, ‘high in omega oils’ etc.
Here are a few tips to determine the quality of your food:
• If it is fresh and doesn’t have a packet or label, it is generally good. Eg. Vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils
• Ignore the health claims in large letters at the front of the packet!
• If it is a processed product such as an oil, butter, margarine, dressing, sauce, dairy product etc., simply take a look at the ingredient list on the label. If there is 1 ingredient on there, such as ‘flax oil’, ‘oats’, ‘fermented milk’, that’s a good start. If there is a list of ingredients, the longer the list, generally the more you have to worry. A rough rule of thumb is the larger the number of ingredients that you don’t understand, the more processed/preserved and least healthy the product.
Now that you’ve got a bit of an understanding of the types of foods that you have in the fridge, endeavour to change the contents within the next few days (with agreement from your other half of course). Then repeat the exercise on the ‘After’ List, filling in the scoring system. Finally, write down a few things that you have learned from this process. Ie. Your take-home messages.
This is now Week 1 of the Craig Coaching 12 Wks to Vibrant Health course. As I promised last week, I will be discussing all of the education topics that I do with participants here on the blog.
The homework exercise this week was to fill out the Biological Age Questionnaire. This will be very familiar to my colleagues from the past because we used this frequently with clients. It is a simple, fun way of gauging your current health by looking at your dietary patterns, exercise levels, stress in your life and also certain lifestyle patterns. I can remember from the past, people scoring like 20 years older than that actually were. With a bit of shifting around of priorities, they were able to reduce that back to their chronological age and even less!
Go ahead and take the test if you dare risk the humiliation! Click here for the Biological Age Questionnaire. I would like to have some feedback on what you think, so please let me know on Facebook or Twitter.
As I'm putting together my upcoming course, "12 Weeks to Vibrant Health", I'm thinking about the educational sections that I'll cover with participants each week. The topics include: What’s in Your Fridge; What’s Under Your Sink; What’s in Your Bathroom Cabinet; Water Quality; Radiation Concerns; Stress Management and several others - 1 topic per week.
As each week of the course goes by, I'll be writing a bit about these topics and asking you to take an honest look at certain things in your life that could be detracting from your health. Why not start 'looking' this weekend. Have a think about what you are putting in your mouth - is it 'real' food or drink (originating from the ground) or does it eminate from a laboratory; is it something that will nurture the cells of your body or will it require the body's energy to be cleared from your system. Have a think about what pollutants you're exposed to every day - the chemicals you spray on your skin in an attempt to smell nice; the chemicals you use to wash your dishes or the bathroom; radiation that you're exposed to from cell phones and WiFi's; plastics from the water bottle when you're riding your bike.
Have a think about these things - it's not a 'do or die' list, just simply an awareness exercise. Once you've identified a few of the pollutants that are in your life, ponder the question: what would our bodies have made of these things 100 years ago when they weren't yet present in our atmosphere?
Living in Cape Town, I've met a lot of runners, cyclists, triathletes and gym-goers. It is in fact a particularly fit and healthy city when I compare with other places that I've lived in the UK and the States. There are plenty of exceptions to that rule though and the city has it's fair share of stress junkies who work hard and play hard, expecting their bodies to cope with the strain. The number of over-worked, over-trained cyclists that I've seen in the past 2 years ....... So we need to work and we also need to train if we're going to do well in the Argus or Epic or Oceans or whatever our bag is - that's a given. However, there is one simple adjustment that many of you can make - EXERCISE IN NATURE. There is so much of it around this beautiful land - I walk or run daily with my dog on the slopes of Table Mountain or else I'm at Tokai on my MTB. Nature gives you something much more than just a training reponse from the effort that you put. It gives you a whole heap of mental energy and a sense of calmness that Virgin Active can never compete with. So, get off your spinning bike or off the boring straight road that you train along and go somewhere that you really enjoy - chances are that you will be less likely to overtrain, espcially if you take a moment to inhale the view. If you're reading this from the depths of a city, there are still pockets of beauty - I can remember lunchtime runs in Hyde Park in London and the commute home over the Waterloo Bridge with a view of the Tate Modern on one side and Millenium Wheel on the other.
Here at CraigCoaching, we're jumping into action with our first blog entries. The site is an educational one, bringing information about exercise, nutrition plus the bigger picture of health. With a background in exercise physiology, strength and conditioning and nutritional therapy, I've got my fingers in a few pies that are of great interest to me. My greatest passion is to write about the topic of Functional Sports Nutrition and I encourage you to read more about the subject. I have already written a lot on the subject through the UK magazine that I edit, called FSN and I'll be adding more topics to the article list, including an upcoming review on healthy bars; an intro to the fascinating field of Nutrigenomics and the equivalent genetic information in sports; discussions of body fat moderation and an insight into the field of exercise immunology. I am always interested in good discussion, so please put questions or comments on the CC facebook or twitter pages, which will be created shortly.
Yours in Good Health, Ian