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Stay healthy this festive season!
I’m new to the Brainz family so let me quickly introduce myself. My name is Tamara Makar, and I’m an IFBB Pro bodybuilder. I have been coaching people for about 15 years on how to achieve their desired physique and I very much enjoy what I do.
Today I would like to talk about 2 very trendy seasons: the festive season and the flu season.
Let’s start with the festive season since Christmas is just around the corner! I am a professional athlete, and my training and diet is my priority since this is my job. However, I have a full understanding of my clients and other people, who just want to stay healthy, and they are on a completely different level of passion for fitness. I understand that they have other priorities, maybe their jobs or their families, and keeping their fitness could be just another ‘chore’ in their lives.
Let me first start with this statement: the gym is not for everyone. Some people love it, others hate it. We have different priorities, different mind sets and different goals. If you don’t like the gym, if you don’t like lifting weights, do not do it. It’s hard to keep up something when you don’t enjoy doing it. To keep your health and fitness – however – you have to do something. Find what you enjoy doing. It could be walking, running, cycling, swimming, it could be anything really. You don’t have to lift weights to keep yourself fit and healthy. If you do something that you enjoy doing, you’re more likely to stick to it in the long run, instead of quitting and restarting periodically.
However, I’ve noticed that most people struggle with sticking to healthy food choices. The holidays are not a very good time to start a diet for most people. There are certain things though that you could do to prevent overeating:
1: drink lots of water. If you fill up your stomach with water you’re less likely to overeat.
2: try to eat more vegetables, and less carbs. Again, if you fill up with greens: salads, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber etc you will have no space to overeat the naughty foods.
3: try to reduce your portions. Usually there are many courses during festive season and if you want to eat all the food, you will definitely overeat. There’s nothing wrong with trying all the dishes on the menu – especially if you’re invited to someone’s home, because you don’t want to offend them by not eating what they’ve prepared. Have a small portion of foods, especially sweets, and try to fill up with vegetables instead of rice, bread or potatoes.
4: another idea is to serve your food on a smaller plate – a smaller portion of food will look bigger on a smaller plate and that tricks the brain to believe it’s a full size portion.
But honestly, if you slide during the holidays, don’t sweat it – try and get back on track as soon as you can. A few days of holiday eating will not make you fat or ruin your work if you’ve been working hard – just like a few days of clean eating will not make you slim and healthy either. A little bit of rest will do good to your body, help with recovery and sometimes breaking the good habit of clean eating can be an advantage for your body. And if you haven’t been eating clean but you’re considering a change from next year, well, then enjoy the holidays and get serious once it’s finished.
When it comes to the flu season I’m a big believer of prevention. It’s always easier to prevent something from happening, than dealing with the hassle and consequences when it occurs. We have a great immune system, and we can help this system to guard us from all attacks.
For a great immune system you need enough rest. How many hours do you sleep at night? Do you wake up tired or do you get some deep rest? If you can’t sleep at night I recommend you try and take some sleep aid: melatonin or antihistamine just to mention a few. If the problem is deeper, you might need some professional help. Stress can cause some sleepless nights. There are different products and ways you can deal with stress – if you’re interested, hit me up and I’ll send you some information of what I recommend.
You will boost your immune system by taking vital vitamins. Vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, Echinacea, these all help strengthen your immune system. Multivitamins, that suggest to take 1 pill a day are usually not strong enough to stop us from catching any viruses. Especially if you train on a regular basis, you need a higher amount of vitamins and antioxidants for your recovery and immune system. There are some stronger concentration multivitamins that you could take to help your immune system – if you need any recommendation, drop me a message (I’m not endorsing any products here, that’s why I don’t want to put it in the article).
And of course, last but not least: working out boosts your immune system. Either the gym, walking, running, swimming, anything that gets your heart pumping. Go for it and enjoy knowing that you're doing something for your own health.
If you need any help with your diet or training plans, healthy choice of foods, how to get back on track or start again, please get in touch and I’m more than happy to help you with tips or full online coaching: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.tamaramakar.me
Many people believe if they’re on a cycle they can slack in their diet. In this video I explain why it is important to have the correct diet during a cycle
Let me know your thoughts: email@example.com
Many people ask me about supplements, what to take to gain weight. It’s quite difficult to advise when I have no idea what they eat, but first I always recommend that you put your diet right. Most people wouldn’t need any protein shakes if their diet was spot on. You can have it, it’s your choice, but it’s not necessary to gain muscle. Protein intake is necessary, but most people should be able to have enough protein from their food intake: chicken, eggs, fish and beef.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan then it’s a whole different ballgame - depending on your end goal.
So what supplements do I recommend for gaining muscle?
- Helps muscle cells produce more energy.
- Improves high-intensity exercise performance.
- Speeds muscle growth.
- May lower blood sugar levels and fight diabetes.
- May reduce fatigue and tiredness
- Can improve brain function
?Glutamine - which is an amino acid, therefore it’s a building block for protein and a critical part of the immune system. It also has a special role in intestinal health.
Some foods that contain glutamine are: eggs, beef, skinned milk and white rice
Glutamine is a critical fuel source for immune cells. If the body’s need for glutamine is greater than its ability to produce it, your body may break down protein stores, such as muscle, to release more of this amino acid.
Additionally, the function of the immune system can be compromised when insufficient amounts of glutamine are available.
Online coaching / training plans / meal plans
? get into shape
??♂️ build muscle
??♂️ lose fat
? contest prep
Glutes are just like any other muscles. There’s no secret to building up your glutes. Many people ask me to send them a workout routine for different body parts. The truth is: you can google it and get a workout online - as long as you only need a generic workout. It’s not WHAT exercises you do, but HOW you do the exercises. That’s is the reason why you need a coach: to show you how to activate the right muscles, how to have the mind-muscle connection. Anyone can tell you exercises, how many sets and reps to do, but if you’re not using the right technique, if you’re not activating the right muscles, the session will be a waste of time.
I’ve found while working with clients, that glutes are one of the most difficult muscles to activate. No matter what exercise we did, when you have weak glute muscles, some other muscles will take over. So my advice is: drop the weight, don’t go heavy, focus on muscle activation, and squeeze!
Online coaching / training plans / meal plans
? get into shape
??♂️ build muscle
??♂️ lose fat
? contest prep
I thought I’d share my story with you guys, how I got here where I am now.
My prep actually started end of February. I was 79kg, and I was getting ready for the Nabba Worlds in June in Italy. I was very keen, had the passion burning inside me. I wanted to win! Last year I finished 2nd at the Nabba Worlds in Russia and I really wanted to prove myself this year. Athletes would know that a contest prep is not easy, but you can always step it up when you’re keen, so I went all in.
So June came, and I went to Italy to compete. Finished 2nd again - not gonna lie, I was pissed off. We planned another competition a couple of weeks after that, Portugal or Spain, but I said no. I knew what improvements I had to make and I needed a bit more time to make them happen.
So after my first comp mid June I went straight into prepping for the second one in November. First I wanted to go to Poland but then we learnt that the @ironrebelshow was gonna be organised again in November - and we went there with @abe.superman In May when he competed, so I changed my mind and I registered for Denmark.
I had to bring up my shoulders, especially my rear delts, so I started training them 3x a week. My glutes and hammies needed more shape, so that meant glutes and hammies 2x a week, and quads/full legs with glutes 1x a week. Are you keeping score? That meant Ꭵ hᎪᎠ ᏆᎾ ᏆᏒᎪᎥᏁ ᏆᎳᎥᏟᎬ Ꭺ ᎠᎪᎽ ᏆᎳᎥᏟᎬ Ꭺ ᎳᎬᎬᏦ... and this is exactly what I did for 6 months to get into the shape I needed for the @ironrebelshow in Denmark last weekend.
The first pic was taken 2 weeks into my prep in March. The second pic was 1 week before the second comp last weekend. I’m proud of this package, I’m proud of the improvements I’ve made and the condition I’ve got myself into. I know there’s more to come, but so far that was my best ever shape.
"MCTs” are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid that has numerous health benefits, ranging from improved cognitive function to better weight management. Coconut oil is one great source of MCTs.
MCTs are missing from our modern diets because the public has been led to believe that saturated fats are bad. However, recent research has shown a lot of evidence about the real benefits of saturated fats.
We now know that ideally MCT oils should actually be consumed every day. Certain saturated fats, especially MCTs and other healthy fats found in things like coconut oil or grass-fed beef, are in fact easier to digest than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) and might even have more benefits related to heart health, obesity prevention and brain health, too.
MCTs are digested easily and sent directly to your liver, where they have a thermogenic effect. That’s why MCTs have been claimed to be burnt by the body for energy, instead of being stored as fat.
Medium-chain fatty acids are capable of helping you:
• Maintain a healthy weight — since they make you feel full
• Specifically reduce stored body fat — since they also raise your metabolic function
• Have more energy
• Think more clearly
• Experience better digestion
• Balance hormone levels
• Improve your mood
• Fight bacterial infection and viruses
• Absorb fat-soluble nutrients from various foods
EHPLabs Oxywhey contains 300Mg of MCT oils, as well as essential and non-essential amino acids andBCAAs, and a blend of whey protein, isolate and micellar casein which makes it an ideal supplement, especially during Ramadan, to provide you with fast and slow absorbing proteins that will see you through the fasting hours.
Caffeine can increase alertness, sharpen focus, improve mood, boost pain tolerance, help burn fat, and help athletes do more work for longer periods in the gym and in sport.
Caffeine was previously banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) pre-competition but since January 2004, any restriction on caffeine’s use pre-event has been lifted.
Caffeine works on the central nervous system.
In bodybuilding and sports, many people also use caffeine pills to enhance performance, these are typically 50-200mg each, and doses may be as much as 300-400mg.
Caffeine is rapidly absorbed from the digestive system reaching peak concentration in blood 60-90 minutes after ingestion. Caffeine is then metabolised in the liver. Complete clearance of caffeine from plasma and urine is not until 24-48 hours after ingestion of the last dose.
Caffeine has been shown to increase both short term intense exercise performance, 'stop-start' activities (football, rugby, etc), long distance running and help our performance in the gym, so we can train more effectively and ultimately increase size and strength.
The competition season is upon us, and a lot of athletes struggle to get dry on stage. Here are the basics of how your body works when it comes to water balance:
The majority of fluid output occurs from urination. Some fluid is lost through perspiration (part of the body’s temperature control mechanism) and as water vapor in expired air.
The body’s homeostatic control mechanisms ensure that a balance between fluid gain and fluid loss is maintained. The hormones ADH (antidiuretic hormone, also known as vasopressin ) and aldosterone are responsible for this.
What does this mean: your body is smart, it will always try and restore the water balance.
If you drink too little water, it will retain fluid by the kidneys and reduces the urine output.
When you drink too much water, your body will try and push it out by increasing your urine output. Drinking too much water also increases the amount of water in your blood and your sodium and electrolyte levels drop. Sodium helps balance fluids between the inside and outside of cells.
When sodium levels drop due to excess water consumption, fluids shift from the outside to the inside of the cells, causing them to swell. When brain cells swell, pressure inside the skull increases. This pressure causes the first symptoms of water intoxication: headache, nausea, vomiting.
Aldosterone increases water reabsorption through sodium cotransport.
ADH increases water reabsorption by increasing the nephron’s permeability to water, while aldosterone works by increasing the reabsorption of both sodium and water.
Over hydration happens when you drink more water than your kidneys can get rid of via urine.
But the amount of water is not the only factor. How long you take to drink the water also counts.Your kidneys can only get rid of about 0.8 - 1 liter of water per hour. Therefore to avoid water intoxication you should not drink more than 1 l of water per hour on average.
Extra care should be taken when you ‘load’ the water before a competition, and also when you rehydrate following a dehydration after a competition - don’t drink too much water at once.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, especially type 1 collagen. It’s found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. It’s what helps give our skin strength and elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells. When it comes to our joints and tendons, in simplest terms, it’s the “glue” that helps hold the body together.
As we age, collagen production declines. You’ll notice it physically: looser skin, more wrinkles and less elasticity. Increasing collagen levels can help your skin look firmer, increase smoothness, and help your skin cells keep renewing and repairing normally.
Collagen also reduces cellulite and stretchmarks.
When we lose collagen, our tendons and ligaments start moving with less ease, leading to stiffness, swollen joints and more. With its gel-like, smooth structure that covers and holds our bones together, collagen allows us to glide and move without pain.
A boost in collagen may help increase your metabolism by adding lean muscle mass to your frame and helping with the conversion of essential nutrients. One of glycine’s most important roles is helping form muscle tissue by converting glucose into energy that feeds muscle cells.
Collagen protein is the building block of your fingernails, hair and teeth. Adding collagen into your diet regimen can help keep your nails strong and possibly reverse signs of hair loss.
If you’d like to detox your body of harmful substances, improve blood flow and keep your heart young, collagen is extremely helpful. That’s because glycine helps minimize damage your liver experiences when it absorbs foreign substances, toxins or alcohol that shouldn’t be passing through it.