7 Ways to Think Like An Athlete


We admire athletes for their focused approach to performance. They tap into discipline, strength and positive thinking and get results. Think like an athlete and perform better at sport – and in life!

 

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  1. Think big. Be limitless in your thought process. In a special article for the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors reveal that the more ambitious the weight loss goal, the bigger the success!
    However, it also makes sense to start small, and remember the phrase, ‘every journey starts with a single step’. The moment you make a commitment to getting started is when things start to happen.
  2. Be mindful. In the run up to Wimbledon 2013, it was widely reported how tennis player Novak Djokovic practised both mindfulness and meditation, paying regular visits to a Buddhist temple in London. Mindfulness is a method of focusing on the current moment through activities such as meditation, yoga and breathing.A 10-year study of mindfulness in sport suggested that mindfulness is effective because it helps athletes focus without distraction. “I have to really focus on the job in hand,” Jessica Ennis told Women’s Fitness. “If your mind wanders, you don’t get the most out of the session,” she added.
  3. Endure the pain. “That’s the closest I will come to knowing what it’s like to have a baby,” said Sir Bradley Wiggins when he broke the world record for distance cycled in an hour in the summer of 2015.Don’t get comfortable! Athletes are happy to put up with pain and a review from 2012 revealed that they have a higher pain threshold than the average. Push out of your comfort zone and keep in mind the phrase made famous by Susan Jeffers’ book: Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway.
  4. Have a vision. Visualise and rehearse in your mind your best performance. In the film Rush, there’s a scene when world champion racing driver, James Hunt, drives the entire course in his mind, holding his steering wheel and talking through each and every twist and turn. Visualising your success, your race, a slimmer healthier you in action gets results.
  5. Believe in yourself. A study in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology aimed to examine what mental toughness was all about. They found of the 12 attributes that define mental toughness an “unshakable self-belief in your ability to achieve your competition goals” emerged as the most important.
  6. Repeat a mantra. Positive self-talk works. Researchers have shown that using simple positive phrases, such as “I can” or “ball-target” help with both power-based and more precision-based skills according to the British Psychological Society.
  7. Celebrate success. Mo has the ‘Mobot’ and Usain Bolt has the ‘lightening’. It’s vital to celebrate your success as it confirms that all the work and commitment was worth it – so bask in your glory.

 

Be the best you can be NOW

Stay in the moment, take small steps and make minor daily adjustments to exercise and your life, and you can be your fittest you, today – and every day. Fiona Bugler shows you six ways to be a better you…

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  1. Find the right time for your training. For those lifting weights you’ll have more power in the evening, and to burn fat, it’s great to train in the morning. Work out before you eat (i.e. in a fasted state) and there will be a small increase in the amount of fat you burn. That’s because blood sugar, insulin and glycogen levels are all lower than normal after an overnight fast. And when it comes to morning training, it’s just great to get it done!
  2. Positive self-talk. The ‘psychobiological’ model says that the brain has as big an influence on how hard, and how long you can train, as your physiological state.Scientists at the University of Kent put the theory to the test when they examined a small sample of healthy adults and got them to cycle to exhaustion, repeatedly. They took all the relevant measurements then sent the group away for two weeks, with one half the group being told to talk to themselves in training, with phrases such as ‘You’re doing well’. Two weeks later this group cycled for longer and it felt easier than before, whereas the other group remained the same.
  3. Smile when you train. Smiling when you run can help to release tension in the neck and shoulders, and relieve stress, and doing this can mean you’ll perform better in training, and subsequently get fitter – and don’t just grin, smile big! A study from 2010 analysed baseball cards from 1952 and found that the players with the biggest, widest smiles, lived longer, happier, more successful lives. Find you’re more likely to grimace than smile? Dance, play, do an obstacle race, train with friends – have fun! Studies show simple things like good music can make a difference to how enjoyable exercise is and are more likely to keep you smiling.
  4. Train with your friends. It’s much more motivating to train with friends, as well as being more fun, training with others means you’re more accountable and studies have found that group training is associated with adherence. Work together, try something new each month, and mix up your plans so that you can all play on your strengths and develop your weaker areas.
  5. Get a gadget and record your progress. From heart rate monitors, to lifestyle gadgets that record your steps, your eating, your sleep hours, there’s now no excuse not to keep track of where you’re going and keep your fitness in mind all day long. Research shows that tracking what you do gets results.
  6. Breathe, stretch, relax… A total body approach to your fitness training will mean you get results quicker. If you’ve trained hard set aside time to release the muscles you’ve worked. As well as stretching, iron out the fascia (a web-like tissue beneath your skin) with a foam roller, a physio ‘stick’ or another ‘myofascial’ release tool. Take 10 minutes at the end of the day to breathe deeply, and meditate so you can tune into your body and ‘listen’ to how it’s responding to the exercise you’re putting it through.

Introducing our Shop

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We’ve embarked on a journey of building a health service that can help you achieve your health goals, whether you simply want to become more active and eat well, or your managing an active athletic lifestyle

Amplify’s small and passionate team have been working tirelessly on a revolutionary set of services, that will help to transform your health and life. And we are proud to launch a vitamins and supplements store with a wide range of health and fitness products, as our first milestone.

We are dedicated to providing a wide range of products and brands, that we know most of you are taking today, to maintain your health and to supplement your active lifestyle. And we promise what we are building in this store keeps very much in line with our broader health service offering and will always add value to your life.

If you want to continue to hear about our developments, you can drop us your email address here.

We’ll send on more updates as we go along!

 

 

7 Nutrition Tweaks for Active People

If you exercise and maintain a healthy and active life, it makes sense to ensure you are in the driving seat when it comes to nutrition, too. Here are some easy tips to help you make changes for the better NOW!

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  1. Choose ‘active-friendly’ nutrients

One in five adults and one in six children may have low vitamin levels of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin – an estimated 10 million people across England alone, according to NICE recommendations from 2014. Vitamin D is essential for active people as it’s been shown to help build strong bones and boost muscle health. Other essentials for anyone keeping active include magnesium, which is lost when we sweat, and essential fatty acids for a healthy heart. And take antioxidants to protect against damaging free radicals, which according to studies are produced when we train, particularly if it’s hard enough to feel exhausted. Try sports antioxidants from Reflex to beat oxidative stress.

  1. Eat before exercise

Before a run, cycle or cardio event, endurance athletes should focus on consuming slow release carbs and allow time to digest the fuel (this will vary from person to person, but for most it’s around two hours). If you’re in a hurry grab a carb bar, such as SIS’s Go Energy Bar. If you’re lifting weights opt for lean protein and carbs, for example lean chicken and noodles or for time-pressed gym bunnies try a Promax Bar from Maxi Nutrition.

  1. Fuel up on the move

If you’re working out aerobically for 90 minutes or more you’ll need to top up your glycogen stores and keep on top of electrolytes. The American College of Sports Medicine recommend we fuel every 45-60 minutes during a long workout, taking on board 30-60 grams of carbohydrate (120-240 calories) per hour. For ideas on what to eat during your workout visit the Amplify Shop.

  1. Get Carbs on board after your workout

After a long run or bike ride, or hard session at the gym, you’ll need to boost your carb and protein levels for energy and repair. “Choose a three-to-one ratio, carb:protein if you’ve trained hard and re-fuel within the first hour – the acute phase of recovery,” suggests Dr Justin Roberts from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Unrefined, or liquid sources of carbs are a good choice as they will digest quicker, try SIS Rapid Rego Recovery and for more ideas, check out all our post workout nutrition products.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is vital for total health as well as maintaining good performance in sport and it’s why we’ve included a hydration measure on our dashboard (coming soon!). When you are exercising and active it’s essential to stay on top of hydration levels, particularly as the weather heats up in the summer months. Try Zero Extreme tablets, which have the added benefits of extra vitamins, or Higher Nature’s Performax sachets with added electrolytes, great for post workout rehydration.

  1. Eat for your body type

Precision Nutrition, the world’s largest online nutrition coaching company make the recommendations based on body type. Ectomorphs (longer limbs and skinnier bodies – a typical runner) metabolise carbohydrates better than other body types. The recommendation is for a 55:25:20 diet (carbs: protein: fats). Mesomorphs (stockier, muscular athletic types) need a 40:30:30 diet. And endomorphs (rounder and heavier) are recommended a 25:35:40 combination.

  1. Get rid of refined sugar

Eddie Izzard, the 54 year old comedian who recently ran 27 marathons in 27 days, gave up ‘refined sugar’ three years ago, ‘Once you get yourself off refined sugar, you do get to a much better place,’ he told the BBC. The simplest way to kick-start going sugar-free is to get label savvy. If sugar is in the Red, don’t buy it! Hidden sugar is in most foods, even those we perceive to be healthy. For example, a 100g portion of granola can have around 13g of sugar. Swap sugar-laden cereal for protein, for example, boiled eggs, which will fill you up, and give you energy.

Looking for sugar free fuel for your training – check out the range at the Amplify Shop.

 

 

Vitamin B

Energising B Vitamins are found in lots of different foods and help to lift our mood, and energy levels, as well as performing vital functions at key life stages.

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What are B Vitamins?

B vitamins were first grouped together because they were found together in many of the same foods. Whilst they have many similar functions as energy vitamins – i.e. the conversion of food into energy or ATP – scientists soon discovered that these water soluble vitamins are in fact quite different, and have their own unique roles in the body. Some are more crucial to red blood cell production, others in nerve system functioning. All, however are essential to the normal healthy functioning of the body and metabolism. 

Food Sources

All the B vitamins are present in a wide variety of other foods – both from animal and plant sources. Because the B vitamins play such an essential role in our health, many foods are now fortified with several of the B vitamins. However, those that are naturally present in foods are the best source.

  • B1 (thiamine): whole grains, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes and oranges.
  • B2 (riboflavin): milk, cheese, leafy vegetables, beans, mushrooms and almonds.
  • B3 (niacin):  chicken, fish, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, nuts, beans, mushrooms, tofu and peanut butter.
  • B5 (pantothenic acid): meats, whole grains, avocados, broccoli and mushrooms.
  • B6 (pyridoxine): meats, whole grains, vegetables and nuts.
  • B7 (biotin):  peanuts, leafy green vegetables and corn.
  • B9 (folic acid):  vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, peas, dairy products, whole grains and meats.
  • B12 (cobalamine): mostly in animal products.

 

The Benefits of B vitamins

The B vitamins (often referred to as the B Complex) are known by several different names and each plays a unique role in the body:

  • B1 (thiamine): Thiamine is important for brain and nerve function as well as energy use throughout the body.
  • B2 (riboflavin): Riboflavin is used to help make and transport energy in the body. It also helps with brain function and helps make chemicals that protect the body from free radical damage.
  • B3 (niacin): Niacin is an essential part of both using energy and storing energy in the body.
  • B5 (pantothenic acid): B5 is often used by the body to break down and build proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
  • B6 (pyridoxine): Vitamin B6 is used to make some of the building blocks of proteins and also helps to break down carbohydrates and fats.
  • B7 (biotin): Biotin is important in making the building blocks of proteins and also helps the body store energy.
  • B9 (folic acid): Folic acid plays a key role in copying and repairing DNA, which makes it especially important in growth.
  • B12 (cobalamine): B12 is important in copying DNA, but also plays a role in breaking down fats and proteins. It’s heavily used in the brain and nervous system.

 

When to take a supplement?

Folic acid is an essential vitamin for pregnant women, as large amounts are needed for the foetus to develop their brain and nervous system. Folic acid is recommended for anyone planning to get pregnant or already pregnant. For the most part, deficiency in any of the B vitamins is uncommon because they are present in many of the foods we eat, or added (i.e. fortification) to several processed foods such as breakfast cereals, that might otherwise be low in B vitamins. Those who are deficient tend to have an illness, follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet (putting them at risk of B12 deficiency), have malabsorption problems (e.g. the elderly), or have a genetic enzyme dysfunction that puts them more at risk for deficiency. Coeliac disease, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) for example, can inhibit absorption of some B vitamins, so often supplementation is necessary. And heavy drinkers are also at risk of B12 deficiency. Older adults tend to be at higher risk for B12 deficiency because their body is less able to absorb it than the body of a younger person. A lack of both B12 and folic acid in adults can cause fatigue and some neurologic problems. Finally, those who eat a diet that is low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are at risk for deficiency in B vitamins. And according to research published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism athletes with low levels of B vitamins will notice a dip in performance during high-intensity exercise, so if it’s worth checking your levels if you want to perform at your best.

When supplementing, B vitamins are best taken in a “B Complex” form, to ensure a balanced intake.