Tag Archives: diet

Where does fat go?

www.pilatesevo.com

My question for you today is simply; when we lose fat, where does fat go? Please write down your answer now, and no peaking at your colleagues answer.

The fact is that most people have no idea. Even the 150 doctors, dieticians and personal trainers in a recent survey shared this surprising gap in their health literacy.

The most common misconception by far is that fat is converted to energy. The problem with this theory is that it violates the law of conservation of matter, which all chemical reactions obey.

Some people thought fat turns into muscle, which is of course impossible, and others assumed it escapes via the colon. Only three of the 150 health professional gave the right answer, which means 98% of them could not explain how weight loss works.

So if not energy, muscles or the loo, where does fat go?

The correct answer is that fat is converted to carbon dioxide and water. You exhale the carbon dioxide and the water mixes into your circulation until it’s lost as urine or sweat. If you lose 10 pounds of fat, precisely 8.4 pounds comes out through your lungs and the remaining 1.6 pounds turns into water. In other words, nearly all the weight we lose is exhaled.

Does this surprise you? It surprises just about everyone, but actually, almost everything we eat comes back out via the lungs. Every carbohydrate you digest and nearly all the fats are converted to carbon dioxide and water. The same goes for alcohol. Protein shares the same fate, except for the small part that turns into urea and other solids, which you excrete as urine.

The only thing in food that makes it to your colon undigested and intact is dietary fibre (think corn). Everything else you swallow is absorbed into your bloodstream and organs and, after that, it’s not going anywhere until you’ve vaporised it.

So if fat turns into carbon dioxide, could simply breathing more make you lose weight? Unfortunately not. Huffing and puffing more than you need to is called hyperventilation and will only make you dizzy, or possibly faint. The only way you can consciously increase the amount of carbon dioxide your body is producing is by moving your muscles.

But here’s some more good news. Simply standing up and getting dressed more than doubles your metabolic rate. More realistically, going for a walk triples your metabolic rate, and so will cooking, vacuuming and sweeping.

Knowing where fat goes might not be the most important thing you learn today. But it might just help you and your clients understand the process of weight loss.

New Year Resolutions failing again? Let’s Talk….

Chris Hunt Wellness Chris Hunt Pilates

www.barcelonabienestar.com

On January 1st, millions of people began the annual ritual of New Year’s Resolutions. Memberships at health clubs and diet programs soar, whilst sales of chocolate and alcohol decline. People take a long, hard look at their spending habits as they sort through the January bills.

Here in Barcelona and Ibiza, the number of people booking onto my wellness and detox retreats rocket, as do bookings for my fitness and sport holidays. Also, people are signing up to my online training and weight-loss programs with excited enthusiasm.

Now we a few weeks into the New Year and despite all this good intention, most people (not my clients of course!)  will fail at their resolutions. Come February, most New Year’s resolutions will be a dim memory. How can such apparently strong determination fizzle out so quickly? What can we do to increase the likelihood that our desire for change will translate into permanent positive change?

Let’s first examine the psychology of the New Year’s Resolution. During the month of December people tend to overindulge in eating, drinking, spending money and neglecting exercise. Rather than moderate these behaviours, we promise ourselves that after the holiday season is over, we will definitely take control. In the meantime, we give ourselves permission to overindulge without guilt. Our resolve is at its peak when we feel full, drunk, or broke. It’s easy to think about going on a diet as we groan from a bloating holiday meal. It’s no problem to plan to quit smoking when we’ve just had a cigarette and replenished our nicotine level. At this point we feel confident about our New Year’s resolutions because we have not yet confronted any prolonged physical deprivation or discomfort.

Chocolate_4

In early January, we are often so sick of rich food and drinks, and feeling so sluggish from lack of vigorous physical activity that it’s not difficult to abstain from overindulgence. In fact, some people look forward to more structure and discipline in their lives. However, a few weeks into the new discipline, our appetites have returned, and we start to feel deprived. It is at this point that we are most at risk for reverting back to old behaviours.

Soon we start rationalizing that this is not a good time of year, what with cold weather and our numerous obligations. When spring comes, we’ll really get into shape. Thus, we make another promise to ourselves, and, now free of guilt, put off habit change for another few months. Chances are that when spring arrives, we will have another temporary surge of motivation, only to abandon it within a few weeks.

time_to_exercise

So why do people abandon their resolutions? One reason is that we become discouraged when results don’t come quickly enough, or when we find that we are not necessarily happier because of them. Behavioural change requires sustained effort and commitment. It is also typically accompanied by physical discomfort. For example, reducing food, alcohol or nicotine intake from a level to which you have become accustomed, results in cravings. Forcing yourself to get off your cosy chair to exercise is often difficult when you’re tired. And of course, it’s easy to procrastinate until tomorrow, so that you can rationalise not disciplining yourself today.

Therefore, if you are going to try to keep your New Year’s resolutions this year, be sure you are ready for the challenge. My experience has shown me time and time again that it possible if you know how. Here are some tips to maximize your success that I use at my retreats in Barcelona and Ibiza and also in my online training for clients. My experience is that they really work:

1. Examine your motivation for change
Are you just feeling full and bloated at this moment? Do you have a hangover from last night? Did your last cigarette give you have a hacking cough? Or is there a more enduring reason for your desire to change? If you can’t think of a better reason than the fact that you’re uncomfortable at this moment, then you’re better off not making promises to yourself that you probably won’t keep. However, if you are realistic and accept the responsibility of discipline required for change, your motivation will be sustained long after the discomfort from over-indulgence has passed.

2. Set realistic goals
Habits and behaviours that are changed gradually have a greater chance of success.

3. Focus on the behavioural change more than on the goal
For example, if you decide to control your eating, your goal for the day is not to lose a specific number of pounds, but to stick to your program. Such focus on your behaviour will help you feel in control of your life. You will gain satisfaction from making sensible choices several times throughout the day.

4. Learn to redefine physical sensations of discomfort
Whenever we restrict ourselves, we have both physical and mental reactions. For example, a smoker feels bodily sensations when his nicotine level drops. However, he has a choice as to how he interprets these symptoms. He can define them as extremely unpleasant, or alternatively he can interpret them as his body cleansing itself of the drug.

5. Make tasks non-negotiable
People who are most successful at implementing such changes are those who make their tasks non-negotiable. For example, if you debate with yourself at 5:30 a.m. whether you feel like getting up to exercise, you will probably opt for staying in bed for another half hour. But if getting up for exercise is no more negotiable than getting up for work, then you’ll do it regardless of how you feel about it. The same goes for organising your closet or taking charge of your finances. One can almost always find an excuse not to do these things. However, if you make a non-negotiable decision that’s based on a sound logical reason rather than on how you feel at the moment, you will be successful.

6. Allow for imperfection.
No one is exactly on target all the time. In fact you should expect to falter every now and then. If you give in to temptation, do not use this as an excuse to abandon the whole program. Learn from your mistake and move on.

7. Do it now.
If you’re waiting for a more convenient time to begin behavioural change, it won’t happen. It’s almost never convenient to change ingrained habits. Now is just as convenient as any time.

So I could say good luck, but we all know that it has very little to do with luck. It has everything to do with commitment and planning. If you want some help with that then contact me about online support and training, and also my retreats in Barcelona and Ibiza.

Chris Hunt is an international Pilates and functional training presenter and educator based in London and Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength. He also created Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. He organises Pilates events, retreats, fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona and Ibiza. For more information about training with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris Hunt, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

Chris Hunt pays all profits made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.
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2015 Another Year another diet?

Chris Hunt Wellness Measure

2015 Another Year, another diet. How to succeed this time!

At the start of every New Year, I am asked the same questions about weight loss and diets. Every year magazine editors are urged to end “reckless” promotion of “irresponsible, short-term solutions” to weight loss, and reduce the pressure to conform to “impossible” stereotypes that damage women and men by lowering self-esteem while promoting depression and eating disorders. Yet still the post-Christmas editions of magazines were publishing with cover lines such as “Festive Flab fighter! Lose 7lb in 7 days” and “Flat tum tricks! Try our 3-day diet plan.”

The stories I have heard from my clients who have joined me on my weight-loss, detox and health retreats in Barcelona and Ibiza with my company Barcelona Bienestar (www.barcelonabienestar.com) has taught me that people who are desperate to loss weight are willing to try any latest fad to get results. What I try to do is to educate people so they leave one of my retreats with new knowledge and inspiration.

The World Health Organisation has talked about halving the amount of sugar that it recommends people should have in their diet, reducing down to 5% the number of total calories. Let me explain how these two issues are related.

Recent Evidence
Robert Lustig, a American academic who has spent 16 years treating obese children, believes that most diets, even combined with exercise, do not last long. Almost any change of lifestyle works for the first three to six months, he says, but then the weight comes rolling back on leaving the dieter often at a loss to understand why the fat is returning. In fact, says Lustig in his book, Fat Chance, which draws on more than 300 scientific papers, today’s children in the developed world are likely to be the first to die younger than their parents because they are being slowly poisoned by a colossal dietary error a generation ago.

It’s a big claim, based on a simple premise: when the Americans were hunting for the cause of rising rates of heart disease in the 1960s and the 1970s, there were two candidates. One was sugar and the other was dietary fat such as cholesterol. The Americans decided fat was the enemy and by the 1980s a low-fat diet was being recommended in a message that spread worldwide. As the £1.2 trillion industry removed fat from processed products, it raised sugar levels to keep them palatable.

“The goal was to alter our diet for the better,” says Lustig. “Instead, we’ve laid waste to every nutritional hypothesis, lost the public’s trust and killed countless millions.” The fundamental change in our diet that resulted helps to explain why nearly 4,000 American teenagers are now diagnosed annually with type-2 diabetes — once so rare in the young that it was known as “adult” diabetes — and why more than 40% of US death certificates list diabetes, up from 13% two decades ago. The UK, says Lustig, is “right behind”.

A sugary surfeit
Even giving young children organic juice instead of the whole fruit can set them on a path of sugar addiction that leads to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and possibly dementia, he warns. Why? The answer is food is processed differently when it arrives in a sugary surfeit. Fructose, a component of sugar, gets metabolised into fat, including a dangerous form of liver fat. It also activates a liver enzyme, setting off a chain reaction that makes the pancreas release more insulin, the hormone that tells the body to store energy as fat.

The majority of humans, regardless of weight, release twice as much insulin as they did 30 years ago. This extra insulin is believed to block a signal from another hormone, leptin, that tells the brain when you can stop eating. Without this signal, the brain boosts your appetite even if you are full and sends you to the sofa to conserve energy. Something similar happens in a diet of the kind that involves skipping meals.

Your leptin concentrations drop faster than your fat stores. You have not lost any weight yet. But your fat cells tell your brain you are starving, your sympathetic nervous system goes into energy-conservation mode and the vagus nerve, which connects the brain with the abdomen, goes into overdrive, boosting your appetite and ordering the release of insulin to tell your body to store some fat.

Our Second Brain
This raises another important topic, that of our “second brain”. As well as the one in your head, our bodies contain a separate nervous system that comprises an  estimated 500 million neurons. Embedded in the wall of the gut, the enteric nervous system (ENS) not only controls digestion, it also plays an important role in our  physical and mental well-being. It can work both independently of and in conjunction with the brain in your head, and your ENS helps you sense environmental threats and then influences your response. Your ENS oversees your digestion, and it alerts the brain if it finds dangerous invaders such as bacteria and viruses.

The “feel good” molecule
Our second brain produces a wide range of hormones and around 40 neurotransmitters. This is important as also transmitting signals in your ENS is serotonin, the “feel good” molecule that prevents depression and regulates sleep, body  temperature and crucially appetite. Research has shown that nerve signals sent from the gut to the brain do affect our mood. These signals may also explain why fatty foods make us feel good, as when ingested, fatty acids are detected by cell receptors in the gut which send nerve signals to the brain. Why is all this important? Simply because a lot of information about our environment comes from out gut. You are what you eat?

Lustig challenges assumptions by dieticians and doctors that to lose weight we must eat less or exercise more; that a   calorie is a calorie, wherever it comes from; and that to shed the pounds we need fewer calories. Not true, he says. The type of food we eat is crucial. Successful diets do exist and have two things in common: they are low in sugar and high in fibre.

Flawed Diets
Even some popular diets work, although they are flawed. The Atkins diet, a low-carbohydrate regime in which you keep the burger but ditch the bun, is effective for weight loss and improved metabolic health. But it can result in inadequate micronutrients and compromised bone health. The Ornish diet, a low-fat, no-fun diet has been proven not only to promote weight loss but to reverse heart disease. The Mediterranean diet — olive oil, legumes (beans, lentils and peas), fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains, dairy products and eggs, fish and wine in moderation — is excellent, as is the South Beach diet, which keeps insulin low, has plenty of fibre, and avoids added sugar.

But the number of people who can stick to any diet is exceedingly small. So the key is to follow some other simple principles, chief among them shopping on the periphery of the supermarket, where the “real food” is kept, not on the shelves.  Real food does not have, or need, a label showing nutritional values. The more labels you read, the more rubbish is in your trolley. Real food takes time to cook but eating it will raise your levels of micronutrients and reduce your fructose. “If you eat real food, your weight will take care of itself, just as it did for the 50,000 years since irrigation and the taming of fire,” says Lustig. “We have no choice but to try to recreate the kind of food supply our grandparents had, before the food processors tainted it.” To make sure, take all your recipes and cut the amount of sugar by a third. And do not forget to exercise.

Traffic light food guide
Lustig uses traffic lights to divide food into three types, a system that might help you with your food choices: greens are “real” foods you can eat as often as you like; yellows are “minimally processed” and can be consumed three to five times a week; and highly processed reds are to be avoided or are for rare occasions.

Green foods include high-fibre cereals such as porridge and shredded wheat. Eggs, milk, grass-fed beef, wild fish, lamb, turkey and free-range chicken can also be eaten without restraint, as can wild or brown rice, whole-grain bread, and home-made salad dressing. Nuts and seeds, fruit and vegetables, plain yoghurt, beans, butter, cheddar cheese — you don’t have to think, just put them in your trolley. Overall, the green foods are high in fibre and low in sugar and “bad” omega-6 and trans fats. They also include tea, coffee and red wine in moderation.

Yellow foods include whole-grain pasta, pitta bread, baked beans, dried fruit and processed meats such as bacon, salami and hamburgers.

The red list has the surprises. Some foods we think of as healthy — bagels, baked potatoes, basmati rice, couscous, fruit juice, rice cakes — are in the danger zone with white bread, pizza and doughnuts.

Don’t compromise your long-term health by believing the fads and trying too hard to lose weight too quickly. By nourishing your body you nourish your second brain, which can all help you feel and look much better, and with an appropriate exercise regime, help you lose weight in a controlled and sustainable way. And after all, that’s what most of us want isn’t it?

Chris Hunt is an international Pilates and functional training presenter and educator based in London and Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also created Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. He organises retreats, fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona and Ibiza. For more information about training with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris Hunt, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

Chris Hunt pays all profits made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

 

What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?

Chris Hunt Wellness Blog Pilates or Yogawww.chrishuntwellness.com

What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?

“What’s the difference between Pilates and Yoga” is a question that I am asked probably more than any other, so I am sure all teachers have been asked this many times as well. It is clearly something that many people do not understand.

It’s been a warm weekend in Barcelona. The weather has turned a little so whilst it’s still hot, there is a slight freshness that is reminding everyone that the heady days of summer are passing and that autumn is not so far away now. The children are back at school and there is the usual surge of people wanting to get back into their fitness and health before the next holidays at Christmas and New Year. I like this time of year. The oppressive heat is dying down, and many of the younger people have returned to their colleges or work, so the demographic of visitors here in Barcelona is older and calmer.

During the weekend I was working with some clients who have travelled to Barcelona from Germany and Russia for one of my wellness and fitness retreats, and yet again, the Pilates or yoga question was asked. I like to let the Universe direct me to what my blogs should be about, so the message at the weekend was clear: what is the best way to explain to people the difference between Pilates and yoga?

In my experience, it’s quite typical that many yoga and Pilates devotees are passionate about their chosen discipline, but it’s clear to me that many members of the public do not understand the differences and are therefore not in a good position to decide which is best for them (or of course decide to do both as I do). As people are so passionate about their chosen discipline, if you ask one of them you are unlikely to get an objective and unbiased opinion.

Some Pilates teachers incorporate elements of their yoga practise into their Pilates teachings and vice versa, so sometimes it could be argued that the lines get blurred (can’t resist a musical MTV reference to Miley Cyrus, our twerking Pilates fan!) I use some Kundalini in my Pilates system Pilates EVO, primarily as stretches and transition movements.

So what really and simply is the difference between yoga and Pilates? How do you describe it to your clients who ask?
Let us use as our starting point the following statements and go from there:

Yoga is an ancient practice that focuses the body, mind and spirit. The yoga lifestyle upholds more than just a healthy physical lifestyle by embracing good moral values such as honesty and tolerance. Its intention was to join the individual spirit with the universal spirit. Pilates is a modern school of exercise developed by Joseph Pilates as a way to improve core strength and spinal alignment. Pilates combines flexibility, core strength and body awareness to support physical rehabilitation.

Ancient yoga practices were passed down individually between teacher and student, so there are many schools and types of yoga. Each school of yoga combines a series of postures, breathing exercises and meditation to form different routines. The repetitive movement of yoga can be very therapeutic while also building flexibility and strength. Yoga has also developed popularity as a great way to relieve stress. Exercises are completed on a floor mat and need no special equipment to begin.

Pilates improves your body from the centre outward by strengthening your core and improving your posture. Pilates is considered a resistance exercise to build muscle and support for the body while aiding flexibility. The core and spinal cord are the central and most important part of whole-body strength and awareness. The cornerstones of Pilates exercises include concentration, control, centring, breathing, flow and precision. A floor mat and specialized machines may be used in Pilates practice.

Pilates reigns supreme as the key to a strong core and improved posture. Practitioners experience stronger abdominal muscles and those hard-to-target obliques from holding positions and using resistance. Pilates exercises will make your body appear taller and leaner. You will also see improved flexibility in your hamstrings and hips. Yoga will provide the most improvement in flexibility. Holding poses while focusing on breathing stretches the body and relaxes muscles, and certain poses will target certain muscles.

So do we all agree? If not, can we all agree on a definitive explanation to clearly explain the differences, or in your experience do you not think we really need one?

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

Chris pays all profits made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

 

How to make your Barcelona holiday a health and fitness retreat

Personal training in Barcelona How to make your Barcelona holiday a health and fitness retreat

A holiday means many different things to different people.

Some people go to a beach resort to relax in the sun. Some people choose adventure holidays to explore. Some people like sightseeing breaks or a more gastronomic emphasis to immerse themselves in a different culture. Some people choose sport-based holidays to practise their favourite hobby or try something new like golf, horse-riding, skiing or snowboarding, mountain biking, surfing/SUP or hiking. Others might want music and the arts to form the basis of their vacation.

So why is a holiday to Barcelona such a great choice? It is because in Barcelona you can have every one of the holidays I mention above.

More people are choosing to have some organisation to their holiday. The days of the traditional package holiday may be long gone as people use the internet to create their own designer holidays, but more people want something constructive to do on their holiday. But they do not want a hotel-organised series of events or classes that the hotel manager thinks you will like at a time specified by the hotel. They want a tailor-made, personal itinerary that fits in with individual particular requirements and timescales.

This is where Barcelona Bienestar answers the needs of our clients. There is nothing we cannot arrange and organise for our clients who come to us from all over the world. Barcelona is such a diverse and interesting city and we complement this by giving our clients a personal itinerary so they can maximise their enjoyment of their holiday.

We offer a health and wellness package based around whatever interests our clients. Fitness activities include personal training, Pilates, TRX, boxing, weighted vest training, functional training, HIIT, and programs based around specific sports such as Stand up Paddle (SUP) fitness, skiing/snowboarding, surfing, walking, mountain biking, rock climbing and many more. For all these activities, we arrange time not only training, but also practising. So you will get time on a surf board, on the slopes or on a mountain.

But it’s not just physical activities we offer. We also offer a range of wellness and beauty services including massage, diet, weight loss, eye lash curling and extensions, gel nails and meditation.

We also organise cultural holidays including the arts and gastronomy, and we give advice on all aspects of Barcelona from the best restaurants to the best sights to see.

We take the stress out of organising your holiday, but you are always in control so you have exactly the holiday you want and need. We can simply arrange your activities, or on a full package we can organise your hotel, meals and transfers as well. What ever you want and need.

For more information, click on www.barcelonabienestar.com or contact us and let us organise your dream holiday for you. Barcelona is waiting for you, and so are we.

 

Chocolate: Cravings, myths and some facts

Chocolate Chris Hunt Pilates

www.chrishuntwellness.com

Do you spend your year ploughing through pile after pile of chocolate?  Valentine’s Day chocolate (having previously just finished the Christmas chocolate bonanza), then Easter, and birthdays and dark nights and mother’s/father’s day etc etc. The chocoholic’s calendar is usually very busy.

It will come as no surprise at all that chocolate is the most frequently craved food, with 40% of women and 15% of men claiming chocolate yearnings (Yanovski 2003). My dear Mum used to say that chocolate cravings were caused by the body asking for the “goodness” found only in that magical wrapper. But are chocolate cravings based in science or psychology, or both?

It is complicated. Chocolate comprises a complex medley of over 400 distinct components that gives it that unique taste, texture and aroma. It has properties that enhance our urge for sensory gratification, so simply seeing or smelling it can trigger cravings. Even writing about it is making me want to reach for that Malteasers Easter Egg hidden away as a present for my Niece.

Like drug addictions, food cravings alter potent neurotransmitters that regulate our mood. Cocoa butter changes from solid to liquid at mouth temperature (the melt-in-your-mouth quality), which causes the brain to release a flood of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, producing temporary feelings of warmth and euphoria. The analgesic effect of chocolate may be a source of sensory addiction for some.

The sugar in chocolate stimulates serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and provides a sense of calm and well-being. Chocolate may help chase the blues by raising serotonin levels, though the science behind this is disputed.

Chocolate contains psychoactive agents that can change mood. Theobromine, a chemical similar to caffeine, is absorbed quickly, mildly stimulating the nervous system to increase the heart rate and can give a mild energy surge. Chocolate is rich in phenylethylamine (PEA) another stimulant. PEA levels are enhanced in people in love, so eating chocolate may temporarily mimic the love vibe, without the need to pay it compliments or take it out to dinner.

And if that was not enough, recent research suggests that people who eat chocolate regularly tend to be thinner. The findings come from a study of nearly 1,000 US people that looked at diet, calorie intake and body mass index (BMI) – a measure of obesity. It found those who ate chocolate a few times a week were, on average, slimmer than those who ate it occasionally. Even though chocolate is loaded with calories, it contains ingredients that may favour weight loss rather than fat synthesis, scientists believe.

Despite boosting calorie intake, regular chocolate consumption was related to lower BMI in the study. The link remained even when other factors, like how much exercise individuals did, were taken into account. And it appears it is how often you eat chocolate that is important, rather than how much of it you eat. The study found no link with quantity consumed.

According to the researchers, there is only one chance in a hundred that their findings could be explained by chance alone. But the findings only suggest a link – not proof that one factor causes the other. Lead author Dr Beatrice Golomb, from the University of California at San Diego, said: “Our findings appear to add to a body of information suggesting that the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight.”

This is not the first time scientists have suggested that chocolate in moderation may be healthy for us. Other studies have claimed chocolate may be good for the heart. Consumption of certain types of chocolate has been linked to some favourable changes in blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and cholesterol level. And chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, does contain antioxidants which can help to mop up harmful free radicals – unstable chemicals that can damage our cells

Dr Golomb and her team believe that antioxidant compounds, called catechins, can improve lean muscle mass and reduce weight – at least studies in rodents would suggest this might be so. Mice fed for 15 days with epicatechin (present in dark chocolate) had improved exercise performance and observable changes to their muscle composition. They say clinical trials are now needed in humans to see if this is the case. There will no doubt be a long queue of willing human guinea pigs willing to risk their health by eating chocolate in the name of science.

But there are still lots of unanswered questions. So while there’s no harm in allowing yourself chocolate now and again, eating too much might be harmful because it often contains a lot of sugar and fat. So if you are looking to change your diet, you are likely to benefit most from eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.

OK, now where did I hide that Easter Egg….

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

Chris pays 50% of any money made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

Ideal body shape: Rebecca Judd Pilates backlash

Rebecca Judd Chris Hunt Pilates

www.chrishuntwellness.com

In my article today I want to ask you as a Pilates teacher, as someone who practices Pilates, or as someone who works in the fitness industry, a very subjective question: do you have an opinion of what constitutes a “Pilates body” shape, and how do you manage the expectations of your clients who do have such an opinion?

As an example, I’m going to talk about Rebecca Judd. Rebecca is a 31 year-old Australian model, television presenter and the wife of Australian Football League player Chris Judd. She caused controversy last week by posting a picture of herself on Instagram in a bikini (click here to see the picture in question).

She has been criticised before for looking “too thin” but says she has never had an eating disorder. Her weight was a talking point after she has lost her “baby weight” very quickly (she gave birth to her daughter Billie Kate in January and son Oscar three years before). In May, just a few months after giving birth to her daughter, she uploaded a slim bikini shot of herself showing she had already regained her pre-pregnancy figure. Last week she told Daily Mail Australia that morphing into her post-baby shape in record time was all down to hard work. ‘It’s all about Pilates, Pilates, Pilates, Pilates,’ she said. ‘I wish I could run but I just don’t have time. And I just work out on (husband) Chris’ reformer equipment all the time, in his man cave. And there’s a spin bike down there I use… it’s all about being fit and strong and toned.’

Some of the comments posted by her 196,000 Instagram followers criticised her whilst others praised her.

@harriet_rose asked: ‘How is this nice? Way too skinny.’ @wendyrpaton said: ‘I like following you Bec but please reconsider the message you are sending to young impressionable women. You don’t need to flaunt yourself like this. Use your beauty in a positive way and a less self-indulgent. I do think you are inspirational, please consider your message. Eating disorders are real and effect many young girls.’ @minnapurdue said: ‘Eat something. Unfollowed.’ @cina_bina wrote: ‘Omg @kaylahayes5 I would rather look the way I do now than look like this, this is so sad poor girl.’

But other comments supported her. @gabstarflossy added: ‘I think you look beautiful @becjudd don’t listen to the haters. Some of these negative comments are appalling. Some people have no idea when they say stupid things about other people.’ and renata_angarano_makeup said: ‘Well done @becjudd. Your discipline and healthy choices should be taken as inspirational. I can only wish to have as much discipline as you. To all the haters – if you all committed yourselves to exercise as much as you do to bitching, maybe, just maybe, you would be happy with yourselves too.’

So to return to my question for this article, do you have an opinion as to what is the perfect Pilates figure? Of course people will all have different opinions and ideas about what “their” shape should be, and there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer per se, but I am interested as to how as an industry we portray ourselves and our vision of health and fitness to our clients, and how we manage the expectations of our clients.

Chris is an international Pilates and functional training presenter and educator based in London and Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also created Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. He organises fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona, as well as retreats. For more information about training with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

Chris pays all profits made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

 

Rebecca Judd: Skinny on Pilates


Rebecca Judd Chris Hunt Pilates

www.chrishuntwellness.com

So this is the picture of Rebecca Judd that caused controversy last week among her Instagram fans.

Do you think she looks attractive?

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway?

Chris pays 50% of any money made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

 

Pilates and Weight Loss: Maria Menounos

Chris Hunt Pilates Maria Menounos

www.chrishuntwellness.com

Another Monday morning. I always remember the quote “It’s not Mondays that are rubbish, it’s your life that sucks” and that makes me smile as another week begins.

In my article today, I want us (us being the operative word) to talk about Pilates (of course) and also those emotive words diet and weight-loss. Today I would like to know your interest in and experiences about your client’s eating habits and how in your opinion this affects their Pilates practice and the progress that they make.

Diet is of course only one aspect of wellness, but of course it is a very important one. I talked about the outrageous and often false claims that some people make in my previous articles “Vanessa Hudgens: Does Pilates create a flat stomach?” and “Bikini-body using Pilates: Jennifer Hawkins knows better”. I also talked about diet in my article “Demi Moore: Pilates and you are what you eat” so please if you have time read those articles in conjunction with this one.

One of the things that prompted my article today is that I was reading over the weekend about Maria Menounos, so I want us to use her example as a reason to debate exercise and diet. If you have never heard of Maria, she is something of a star now in the diet and weight loss arena. She credits the Mediterranean diet and a combination of Pilates and fitness workouts for her quite stunning 40-pound weight loss. She wrote the inevitable book about her achievements.

The Everygirl Diet: The Cheaper, Smarter, Simpler Way to Better Health

I am very sceptical about “quick-fixes” and miracle diets, and Maria did lose a lot of weight in a relatively short period of time, but it seems that she did it in the right way and in a sustainable way. She is Greek and followed the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes healthy fats such as olive oil, salmon and avocados, high-quality animal proteins, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds. She says that she was raised in a strict low-sugar diet as a child because her dad had type 1 diabetes, so when she went to college, she went overboard indulging all her junk-food cravings.

Tired of being overweight, Maria completely overhauled her diet and began exercising during her early 20s. Within a year, she lost 40 pounds and slimmed down to a size 4. The 5-foot-8 Maria now weighs about 125 pounds. She has maintained an active, health-conscious lifestyle ever since. For exercise, Maria tries to walk 10,000 steps (about five miles) every day and she also runs on the treadmill, takes spinning classes, jumps role, plays basketball, and does Pilates and Krav Maga workouts.

It is my opinion that simple logic dictates that our clients will not make as much progress if they take Pilates in isolation, but how much responsibility do you feel about other aspects of your client’s health and wellness? I talked about what I call “total fitness” is my article “Exercise is only one part of Total Fitness” so today I welcome your thoughts and comments about how you approach other aspects of health and wellness, or if you see you role as purely a Pilates teacher. I appreciate that most of us are not qualified in nutrition so for those who are not, how do you try to approach this topic, if at all? For those of you who are qualified, how open do you find your clients to advice about what they eat?

Monday’s aren’t rubbish. And I am sure that this debate today will make this particular Monday an interesting one.

Chris is an international Pilates and functional training presenter and educator based in London and Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also created Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. He organises fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona, as well as retreats. For more information about training with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

Chris pays all profits made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.