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Fitness Topics


The intent of our website is to assist our users in achieving a healthy and prosperous lifestyle by providing the most current, up-to-date health and fitness information available.

By continually striving to provide the most current, leading-edge, and scientifically proven health and fitness research, our hope is that we are able to provide our users with a comprehensive, understandable, and simple-to-implement approach to achieving all of their personal health and fitness goals.

By visiting our website, you have taken a very important first step towards achieving your personal health and fitness goals. At times, the decision to improve one's level of general health, fitness, and mental well-being may require a complete change in lifestyle. However, more often than not, this is simply not the case.

Although the transition to a healthy way of life is often viewed as a timely, difficult and unachievable goal, our belief is that this could not be any further from the truth. While there are no quick fixes or shortcuts to obtaining optimum health, generally, only a few lifestyle modifications are necessary to begin your path towards a healthier lifestyle.

We have designed our health and fitness website with the unique individual in mind. Our website focuses on providing a large spectrum of information relevant to all body types, physical conditions and lifestyles. Whether you are an individual that has not been physically active for several years, a professional athlete, or a personal trainer, our hope is that you will find the information on our website informative, educational, practical, and relevant to your personal fitness goals. To this end, we have divided the fitness articles into seven primary categories with the intent being to enable our users to navigate through our website more easily, efficiently and with greater focus.

Editor's Pick

01

MUSCLE

Time And Tide Wait For None

David Lee, Vice President of Certified Pre-Owned at Tourneau, offers an easy-to-understand guide to the fundamentals of horology. It’s always a good time for a primer on setting and winding a watch—whether the timepiece is powered by a battery, requires near-daily winding, or winds itself when worn on the wrist.

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02

WEIGHT LOSS

HOW TO AVOID HOLIDAY BELLY

Pass: Fried breakfast
Plate: Scrambled eggs

If your days usually start with grapefruit and coffee, don’t shift too far as diet overhauls can cause constipation. “It’s better to have scrambled eggs,” says dietitian Dr Sarah Schenker. The fat and protein will nullify hunger pangs – and the cysteine will dull the pain of yesterday’s G&Ts.

Pass: Soft cheese
Plate: Hard cheese

Your body produces enough lactase to suit your regular diet, says Schenker. Treble your dose with a holiday brie and you’re understocked, which means bloating by the pool. Opt instead for hard and aged cheeses, which are lower in lactose, and goat’s cheese, which has shorter milk proteins that are easier for your body to digest.

Pass: Sex on the Beach
Plate: Bloody Mary

At Club Tropicana drinks may be free, but dodge anything with a paper brolly. Sugar masks even strong booze, says Schenker, so you won’t realise you’re eight shots in before lunch. Opting for tomato juice cuts the sugar – and your waist, according to Chinese research.

Pass: Pad Thai
Plate: Thai green curry

Starchy noodles lead to pool-side bloating tomorrow morning, hiding whatever number of abs you’ve teased out. Swap for Thai green curry’s bloat-shrinker turmeric, which comes with a side of appetite-crushing coconut milk fats to curb your dessert cravings.

Pass: Sorbet
Plate: Gelato

You might be happy to swerve ice cream, but don’t think the fruity alternative’s
 a healthy choice. Sorbet is higher in sugar, “and it’s not satiating so you’re likely to overindulge,” says Schenker. The fats in gelato might mean more calories, but they also slow glucose absorption to avoid sugar spikes. Just set yourself a one-scoop limit.

Pass: Fish and chips
Plate: Calamari

“Don’t eat the ‘British’ food,” says Schenker. Not only does it display cultural clumsiness, it’s also stodge that spikes your blood-glucose levels. Battered squid is lower in carbs and the veg-heavy local tapas will pack more fibre and water, filling you up for fewer calories.

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03

WEIGHT LOSS

3 BEST DIY SHAKES FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Looking for a delicious stop-gap that'll keep your hand out the biscuit tin? Or a post-workout pint that's more interesting than a shaker full of protein powder?MH has got you covered with three DIY weight loss shakes, created by online personal trainer Scott Baptie, designed to help you burn fat, beat hunger and breeze through your workout programme. Blitz the ingredients in a blender and down for a downsized waistline.

Berries, honey and chilli fat-burner

1 cup mixed frozen berries
1 very small pinch of chilli powder
400 ml milk
200 ml cold green tea
1 tbsp honey

Researchers at the University of California found the chemical capsaicin, which is found in chilli peppers, increases fat loss by raising your body temperature and energy expenditure. Other studies have shown that it can help suppress appetite too. Berries are an ideal addition to a low calorie, fat burning shake; they are rich in vitamins, high in fibre and some research has shown they can also improve blood sugar control, staving off diabetes. Rememeber, weight loss should also be about improving your health, not just restricting calories. 

(Related: 7 ways to avoid diabetes)

Kale, apple and yoghurt hunger-beater

1 handful of kale
1 apple, core removed
1 pink grapefruit, peeled
1 cup of water
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
1 tbsp. honey

Green juices are synonymous with foul-tasting health drinks you have to pinch your nose and suffer through, but this kale smoothie tastes as good as it makes you feel. Dark leafy greens are a great source of calcium, which research shows plays a key role in helping regulate body fat levels. However, it's the protein packed into a 1/2 cup of low-fat natural yoghurt that'll keep you trim. The protein increases satiety, helping you avoid snacks between meals, and minimises the loss of muscle most men suffer when dieting for fat loss.

(Related: How to feel fuller for longer)

Orange, ginger and green tea recovery shake

1 orange
1 scoop of whey protein
Pinch of ginger
400 ml cold green tea
Handful of ice cubes

Oranges are packed with vitamin C, which helps combat the oxidative stress that causes DOMS, and researchers at the University of Georgia also found the anti-inflammatory properties in ginger help reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Green tea, as well as giving you a much-needed caffeine boost post-gym, contains the antioxidant ECGC, which has the power to boost fat oxidisation. Recovery is an undervalued part of every weight loss programme, but with the correct nutrtion you can keep your muscles fresh and maintain the motivation to burn maximum calories every time you hit the gym.

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04

WEIGHT LOSS

THE BIG READ: OBESITY SHOULD BE A NATIONAL PRIORITY

Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer today stated in her annual report that tackling obesity should be a national priority to avert a “growing health catastrophe”.

While the report looked specifically at women, England’s top doc said obesity was so serious that is should be a priority for the whole population. She also warned that the food industry needed to pull its socks up or face a sugar tax (do we need a sugar tax? Join the debate). 

Obesity throughout the country is an epidemic, and we need to act fast before it overwhelms our body, the NHS and the economy. It’s causing a fatal class divide and thousands of deaths. If something isn’t done, our nation could collapse under its own weight.

Men’s Health investigates what can be done…

(Lunch)time bomb

You don’t need a time machine to glimpse this fatter future. A trip to Coatbridge, Lanarkshire will do. According to market researchers CACI, this Scottish town has the UK’s fattest residents. One in five has a BMI above 30 and cabbies limit loads to two passengers. It’s no coincidence that Britain’s fat capital is also one of its most deprived areas. A map of the UK drawn by the National Obesity Observatory (NOO) shows a stark class and geographical divide. The fattest areas include the North East, where unemployment rates are among the highest at 9.6%. Earning power seems directly linked to your girth, with only 21.6% of top-earning households seriously over weight, compared with 29.3 % of households where cash is tight.

If we don’t act, our ‘fatocalypse’ will become reality. The Foresight report predicts that by 2050 we’ll have an economic and health crisis if current trends continue. If you’re one of those making up the far-too-round number, the personal consequences will be dire. The British Dietetic Association warns that risk of fatal disease increases by 1% for every pound you’re overweight. Obesity ups your risk of heart disease by 82%, your risk of type 2 diabetes doubles if your BMI hits 25 and University of Aberdeen research found a 20lb (9kg) weight increase cuts your chances of fatherhood by 10%. Harvard Medical School has even coined a new term for patients suffering from obesity-related diabetes: ‘diabesity.’

Looking at the big picture, the cost to society will be crippling. NHS spending will increase from £104 to £114bn by 2015, but in real terms it will be static, thanks to rising costs and patient numbers. Health charity The King’s Fund and economic think tank The Institute of Fiscal Studies estimate this leaves a £20bn funding gap. “There’s a gap between what we’d like to spend and what we have, and obesity comes into that,” says King’s Fund health economist John Appleby. “NHS funding is flat in real terms and the cash just won’t be there.”

While the NHS budget flatlines, obesity costs are soaring. Over 5.5m over-16s are on obesity registers, a rise of 250,000 in the past year. Research by Diabetes UK shows the impact of this in a 5.5% rise in type 2 diabetes cases in a single year. Treating diabetes costs the NHS an annual £8bn, the cost of prescription weight-loss drugs is up 13% to £47m, and obesity operations 40% to £32m. Perhaps the most shocking figure is that each NHS hospital spends an average of £60,000 annually on ‘supersizing’ beds, wheelchairs and equipment for heavier patients. All this while cancer drugs are being rationed.

Related: Are you sleepwalking your way towards type 2 diabetes? 

The predicted cost to the nation also includes the amount taxpayers will be funding in incapacity benefit for those whose obesity-related health problems mean they can barely walk, let alone travel to an office. “The consequences are so wide-ranging that no country, however wealthy, will be able to afford the fallout – whether it’s pervasive diabetes affecting 30-50% of adults or heart disease, ar thritis, cancers or respiratory problems,” says Professor Philip James, chair of the International Obesity Task Force. He points out that the fat epidemic is already responsible for half of all the increasing costs of the US health sector.

Slim chance

So far, the government’s response has been to ‘nudge’ the public into slimming down, with initiatives like cinema tickets for children who walk to school. The Department of Health says it is ‘concerned’ about the prevalence of obesity and its ‘serious implications’. A spokesman told MH that ministers were ‘working hard’ on new measures but ‘nannying’ people to lose weight is not on the agenda. “The Government’s role is not to lecture people, not to nanny them, not constantly to be legislating or taxing them,” says the DoH spokesman. Many experts argue that more drastic action is needed.

Some German politicians have already suggested fat people should pay higher taxes because of the burden they place on the health system. Or there should at least be a tax on fatty food. “A junk food tax is sound in principle,” says Paul Sacher, specialist dietician at Great Ormond Street Hospital.“ But it will only work if it’s high enough to stop people buying high-fat, sugar and salt foods. Otherwise it just becomes a tax on the poor.” And, he argues, cash raised through a tax on unhealthy foods should be used to subsidise more nutritious foods. Sacher also supports limiting advertising unhealthy foods to children to ‘minimise’ the ‘pester power effect.’

Pay as you gorge

The influential health journalist Ian Marber takes a more radical stance, calling on the Government to bring in National Insurance pay bands which reflect our individual lifestyles. Those who don’t exercise, or have a high body fat, should pay the top band. “Those who don’t drink or smoke and eat healthily should pay the lowest amount,” says Marber. “It’s like any other type of insurance. You pay according to your risk.”

How we stop the next generation from supersizing is one of the most vital issues. Children are feeding their ‘fat future’ before the age of five and parents are often to blame, argues Terry Wilkin, professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth. His long-term research found sons of obese fathers are six times more likely to be obese, and he stresses that we need to tackle parents to stop this ‘conveyor belt’. “Obese parents are ‘recycling’ their obesity through inappropriate feeding,” says Wilkin. The demise of family mealtimes has an impact, he argues, because we no longer understand the impact of portion sizes. It’s a theory backed by University of Wales research, which showed children who don’t have set mealtimes don’t learn appropriate eating habits. “It’s vital that we educate children at an early age, but it has to be a whole family approach – the parents buying the food need the knowledge and understanding, too,” says Sacher. Wilkin’s solution is controversial: “We should target obese couples pre-conception.”

Related: Obesity is gentic but it can be fought! 

Obviously blame doesn’t rest solely at the (partially obscured) feet of overweight individuals. Many stress that the food industry’s role in the global obesity crisis needs to be tackled. No one force-feeds us quarter pounders, but are they playing with our minds? Dr David Kessler, former commissioner of the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), warns that food chains – including supermarkets – are manipulating us so that we consume more. His book, the New York Times bestseller The End of Overeating, highlights the use of salt, sugar and fat as the most commonly used ingredients, in terms of dietary manipulation. His investigations revealed that some restaurant chains deliberately increase these ‘killer’ ingredients in starters, so we eat more throughout the meal and are more likely to develop addictive eating behaviour.

Related: 11 of the best exercises to lose weight

A matter of course?

A first step in controlling the food industry could – and many say should – be to ban the use of trans fats. These chemically-altered vegetable oils are public enemy number one, according to Professor Lindsey Davies, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health. They’re in many of processed foods because they’re cheap, bulk ingredients, which prolong shelf lives. But they have no nutritional value, Davies points out, and cause a redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen, upping your bodyweight, even when you’re controlling calorie intake. Their link to obesity has been confirmed in research by Wake Forest University in the US. “Thousands are dying from them,” says Davies. “And we get hysterical about E. coli, which may kill a handful of people. Trans fats are contaminating food.”

If our weighty issue isn’t tackled now, we could be facing a bleak nutritional future. Wilkin believes there will come a time when there will be draconian measures, just as society came round to a public smoking ban. The Future Foundation goes further, predicting a Christmas Future where sugary foods are banned and chocolate is rationed. It’s not so improbable. In the US, education chiefs in Pennsylvania have drafted regulations limiting classroom birthday parties to one a month.

In the meantime, maybe it’s better to give that burger a miss.

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05

WEIGHT LOSS

5 SIMPLE WAYS TO MAKE YOU WANT TO EXERCISE MORE

Nearly two thirds of gym memberships go unused. Don’t let yours be one of them. Make sticking to your fitness plan effortless with these five easy ways to boost motivation. And if you don’t have a plan yet, use ours: sign up to our free Men’s Health #5in5 workout programme to lose 5kg fat and gain 5kg of muscle in just five weeks!

1. Optimally primed

Pepper your day with casual clues – trainers by the front door at home, gym bag ready-packed in your car, protein shake on your desk at work – as reminders of your intention to train, and take time to recall how great you felt after your last workout. Positive memories of your last session send motivation levels soaring, found researchers at the University of New Hampshire. Just be sure to focus on how great you felt after squeezing out that squat, rather than how difficult it was to walk down the stairs to the changing room afterwards.

2. Log your sessions

People who report their progress to others are more likely to carry on with a training plan. But that reporting doesn’t have to be face-to-face, according to research in the Journal of American College Health. The study authors found that logging fitness activity online for others to see inspired as much motivation as regularly working out with a group. But remember: you are notJen Selter. Spare your followers an endless stream of #fitspiration by signing up for the Men’s Health Personal Trainer tool and get access to training and nutrition plans personalised for your unique strength, stats and training goals.

3. Fine yourself

Would you be more likely to go to the gym if you had to fork out a fiver for skipping it? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone, according to a handful of studies and the creators of Pact, a clever smartphone app that has users check in at their gyms via GPS and charges them for missed workouts. Each week, money is pooled from the non-exercisers and distributed among Pact users who have managed to hit their workout goals. Sign up and never skip a workout to earn money and muscle.

4. Get a training partner

If you work out with a buddy, make sure he’s in similar shape, suggests a study in the journal Science. Researchers found participants who exercised with partners similar in BMI, age, and fitness level were more than three times as likely to stick with their fitness plans as those with less compatible partners. Whatever you do, don’t work out with someone much fitter, say scientists. That sets unrealistic goals and undermines motivation.

5. Think smaller

Large goals can seem unattainable. Instead, focusing on incremental victories brings better results, report scientists in the Journal of Consumer Research. So rather than dwelling on the 15 pounds you want to lose, think about doubling your current 3-pound loss.

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06

STYLE

YOUR NEW HOLIDAY STYLE ESSENTIALS

Luggage charge

This neat tablet case boasts a battery pack to top up in transit and a unique ID number for when you inevitably leave it in the back of the seat in front.
£119 knomobags.com

Overseas calling

The Galaxy S6 Edge, well, edges it with a battery that lasts three hours from just 10 minutes’ charge, plus the planet’s most powerful mobile camera.
£600 samsung.com/uk

Super sonics

Like Pacman, these headphones are light but pack a punch. Unlike him, they fold flat and block noise (crying babies, duty-free announcements).
£150 philips.co.uk

Right idea

‘If it ain’t broke…’ doesn’t always apply: take aircraft maintenance. Or Ray-Ban, which uses plane tech to make its new Liteforce Wayfarers harder and lighter.
£120 Ray-Ban at Sunglass Hut†

Multiple carrier

Inspired by the iconic (and ontrend) MA-1 flight jacket, this orange-lined carry-on can be a messenger bag or a rucksack.
£375 mrporter.com

Flight suit

Scrunch up this blazer if needs be – its crease-resistant cloth means you’ll still land looking a million units of local currency.
£515 (trousers £200) paulsmith.co.uk

Throw away

Folding to matchbox size, this travel blanket can be deployed when the cabin temperature dips over Greenland, and on the beach (unless you land in Greenland).
£18 matadorup.com

Time flies

Crossing time zones like a Gallifreyan? Citizen’s Satellite Wave F900 can display two at once and auto-updates to local time within three seconds.
£1495 citizenwatch.com

Scent packing

What’s worse than a confiscated fragrance bottle? A smashed one. This 30ml spray comes in a leather case with snap-opening for a quick refresh on landing.
£74 uk.acquadiparma.com

Quality filter

Skip the overpriced airport coffee and in-flight ‘java’: this all-in-one portable maker lets you grind and brew your own beans anywhere with hot water.
£65 cafflano.com

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07

STYLE

LINKS OF LONDON: FOR THE MODERN MAN

It all started with some fish-shaped cufflinks in 1990. Since then, Links of London have gone from strength to strength: opening over 100 stores across the world, from Hong Kong and Shanghai to New York and Athens.

Their men's collection is constantly evolving to suit the needs of the modern man, and this year, as the innovative brand celebrate their 21st birthday, they've made some seriously stylish additions to their men's collection

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08

NUTRITION

THE KILLER AFTERBURN LOWER-BODY WORKOUT

You think you know leg-day pain? PT igh-volume supersets will leave you duck-waddling down the stairs for days. It'll also build you pins that look like they're carved by Rodin. Complete each superset twice, then move on to the next bit of kit. 

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09

MUSCLE

THE KILLER AFTERBURN LOWER-BODY WORKOUT

Do you train hard and see little in the way of muscle gain? How about an endless toil in the gym, struggling to lose fat? The chances are, you're going about it all wrong. The real way to hit your training goals is adapting your plan to your body type.

Men can generally be classed as one of three body types.

Ectomorphs: skinny guys that struggle to gain weight. They're your classic “hard-gainers”.
Endomorphs: large-bodied and generally soft, these bodies gain bulk easily but also store fat along the way.
Mesomorphs: the ones everybody envy because they're naturally lean and athletic. They can put on muscle comparatively easily and they don't require huge amounts of maintenance.

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010

MUSCLE

A Beginner’s Guide to Handstands

It demonstrates balance and control over your body, something we happen to put great importance upon here at Nerd Fitness. It’s also one HELL of a party trick, something you can work on without a single piece of equipment, builds functional strength and muscular endurance, and it’s a skill you can work on in just a few minutes every single day.

How do I know this? Because I’m typing this while in a handstand RIGHT NOW. Okay, I can’t do that. But Jim, Master of the NF Fitness Universe can:

jim typing

I love working with gymnastic rings, because they have such a great tutorial level. Handstands are exactly the same way: it’s a great skill to work on as a beginner, but also is infinitely challenging depending on your skill level.

Plus, in addition to Jim, Luke Skywalker does them. It’s time to stop looking at other people doing cool things and start today saying “hey, I can do that too!”


Why handstands are awesome

Jim-Bathurst

Team Nerd Fitness member Jim Bathurst has been training and working on handstands for years. From humble beginnings, he taught himself a standard handstand and eventually worked his way up to one-handed tricks like the photo above.

Now, you won’t be doing this anytime soon, but it doesn’t mean you can’t start today learning how to go inverted.

Fun fact: I can’t say the word inverted without thinking of Top Gun’s line “because we were inverted,” but that’s only because I used to watch that movie with my brother every day from ages 3 to 5.

I’ve fallen in love with handstands for a few reasons:

Like other bodyweight training, there’s no excuse. If you have room to stand up, you have room to practice handstands.

It recruits DOZENS of muscles in your body. From arm strength to wrist mobility to core strength to shoulder mobility and muscular endurance, handstands do it all. When you are trying to balance, it makes your body work as one complete unit.

It scares you – yes, that’s a positive. We grow outside our comfort zone and for many people, just the thought of a handstand is enough to make their palms sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. Vomi… nevermind. The point is that the handstand is just as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. How scared do you think this guy gets on a regular basis?

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