Who is Leah Byrne?
Hi! My name is Leah Byrne, I am the Co-founder of The Fitness Factory Group; a chain of health & fitness stores in the North West of England.
My husband & I created The Fitness factory Group almost 10 years ago. We have worked within the fitness industry for a combined 30 years (eek!). I started out as a receptionist in the local gym I attended at the age of 18 & quickly progressed to Fitness Instructor & exercise to music instructor (that’s aerobics & step class to you & I).
I met my husband (in the gym) at the age of 19, he was a personal trainer, qualified biochemist & was studying a further pharmacy degree at university. Brains as well as brawn!
Fast forward 16 years, four health stores, two gorgeous kids, several of our own sports supplement brands, multiple websites & here we are!
I met Emily last year & we hit it off straight away, I am very passionate about all things health & fitness related. I can talk about it for hours & never get bored.
The human body amazes me & leaves me totally in awe!
I love that Emily shares the same enthusiasm – you can’t shut us up!
In our stores, we get people from all walks of life.
Men & women of all ages. From those who have never (& never will,) stepped foot into a gym; to avid fitness fanatics who can’t get enough information about nutrition, health & exercise.
We are there to help, we have a fully qualified, expert team who uphold our ethos of ‘honest health & nutrition’ and love to share information.
Today I’m going share our top tips for optimum health.
They are very simple, easy to incorporate into your daily routine & will help you towards your goals.
Leah Byrne’s Health & Fitness Advice
Fuel Your Body.
It is so important to properly fuel your body.
You wouldn’t put 10p worth of diesel in your car & expect it to be able to travel far, so why would you expect your body to perform at optimum if you are under fuelling it?!
It’s common misconception when people are trying to lose weight or just become healthier in general that they must really under eat in order to do so.
However, eating enough nutrients is essential for both your physical and mental health. Undereating or cutting out food groups mean missing the vitamins and nutrients that help our organs to do their jobs. Each cell within our body has a job to do, these cells are fuelled by nutrients which we take from food & or supplements.
Under eating can be just as bad as overeating.
We recommend tracking your food intake. This way you can identify if you are in fact under/overeating, identify any trends or areas for improvement.
How many calories should you eat?
Everyone is individual & therefore should have different calorie consumptions, no one amount fits all.
In order to determine a rough guideline, you should calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate)
For men: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5
For women: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161
Once you know your BMR, you can make a more realistic guess of your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE. This reflects the entire amount of calories, your body burns during a given day when you’re sleeping, ingesting and digesting food, working and exercising. To truly reflect the energy you’re burning, TDEE takes into account two additional aspects.
Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA): This is the amount of calories burned while exercising.
Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF): When you digest food and absorb its nutrients, your body uses energy in the form of calories. It’s only roughly three to five percent of your daily calorie needs so you do not need to worry too much about this calculation.
There are automated calculators on the Internet, which will work out your recommended calorie consumption for you in order to meet your goal.
Knowing your BMR is important to know how much fuel you need to keep you energised. When your body fluctuates or you change your exercise routine, revisit the BMR calculator to know if you should be eating more or less.
Drinking water is hugely important.
The human body is made up of 60 – 65% water, We should drink 1 litre of water for every 50lb of body weight in order for our bodies to be properly hydrated. If you ever feel thirsty then your body is already dehydrated & lacking in water.
Why drink water?
The chemical formula for water is H2O: this means that water is made up of 3 atoms: 2 hydrogen bonds & 1 oxygen bond. When ingested our body quickly breaks down the hydrogen bonds & the oxygen molecule is quickly absorbed by our body’s cells & used as energy to carry oxygen & nutrients to your vital organs. Your body requires water to burn calories, metabolise & burn fat. If you are not drinking enough water this will slow down the weight loss process & put your body under stress.
Get Enough Sleep
When it comes to any aesthetic goal an adequate night’s sleep of 6 hours or more is paramount.
When you have had a bad night’s sleep you feel; exhausted? Confused? Unable to function properly? Short tempered maybe?
Every cell within your body also feels this way too.
Lack of sleep causes your metabolism (metabolic rate, this means how we burn fat) to dip. In order to burn fat cells they must be moving, this is known as fat oxidation.
Lack of sleep causes your body further problems as it affects your body’s ability to use insulin. When your insulin levels are functioning well, fat cells remove fatty acids & lipids from your bloodstream to use as energy & prevent them from being stored within your body.
When you have insulin spikes & dips, fats continue to circulate in your blood instead of being removed & used as energy. This causes your body confusion & starts a chain reaction in which your body pumps out more insulin -this excess insulin is then stored by your body as fat.
Most importantly lack of sleep means that your body produces less growth hormone, this is the hormone that aids fat burning, recovery & anti-ageing.
Whatever your fitness goals are, we all need muscle. We need muscles in order for our bodies to move & function, for strength & alignment but also because muscle fights fat … the more muscle we have the more fat we burn.
Growth hormone aids the growth of muscle & therefore aids the fat burning process.
Long story short sleep deprivation ruins all of your hard work. If you are not sleeping properly you are fighting against yourself & will find it very hard to meet your goals.
How can we get better night’s sleep?
- Stick to a routine – go to bed at the same time & wake up at the same time, even at weekends
- Avoid stimulants before bed – caffeine, fizzy drinks, alcohol, cigarettes, chocolate cut them out
- Wind down – turn off the TV, put your books away. Go get a nice hot bath & do nothing, switch off your mind
- Exercise– exercise releases serotonin (our happy hormone) if you feel happier your mind will be more restful.
- Meditate –breathe deeply, this will oxygenate cells ensuring that your body is working at it’s optimum & is not working against itself
- Put lavender on your pillow or in your hot bath
- Drink valerian tea before bed
- Dim the lights – light equals daytime, which for us humans means to wake up!!
Supplements to help sleep: https://factorysupplements.co.uk/products/re-lax-60-capsules
Keep Your Stress Levels In Check & Take Vitamin C.
Stress raises your cortisol level, this is your body’s stress hormone. It is produced by the adrenal glands. When cortisol levels are high every cell in your body becomes stressed & has to work harder.
Stress affects every part of our body & is never good for us! Taking a daily supplement of Vitamin C helps to regulate cortisol.
Vitamin C is what is known as an essential vitamin, this is a vitamin that is required in order for your cells to function. It is an antioxidant. Humans cannot produce Vitamin C naturally within their bodies; therefore we have to obtain Vitamin C through our diets or through supplementation.
“If there is one thing you take from this blog post, let it be incorporating Vitamin C into your daily routine. It is my absolute top tip & I encourage everyone I meet to do so. The benefits are amazing & you will feel it immediately”.
As our bodies cannot produce vitamin C naturally this means that we quickly use up the Vitamin C ingested from food & are always somewhat deficient; therefore we should supplement with Vitamin C tablets.
We recommend taking 3 x 1000mg tablets throughout the day (one with breakfast, one with lunch & one with dinner).
Other ways in which you can combat stress are: practice meditation & gratitude, breathe deeply and reach out to a friend.
Move Your Body
Other than short bursts of energy in the gym, most of us a fairly inactive all day, we drive short journeys for convenience; we work at our desk for the majority of the day, when we go home we relax in front of the TV.
Your body is dynamic, energetic & made to move!
Your body requires movement in order for all of its cells to work.
Scientists recognise that everything in the Universe is made of energy. Energy starts with cells.
What are cells?
In simple terms, cells are our body’s building blocks, our foundations if you will. If you imagine the foundations of a building if they are not properly maintained the building will become unsteady & start to crumble.
Now we’ve all heard of the following phrases:
“Positive mental attitude … PMA “
“Surround yourself with positive thoughts”
“Positivity attracts positivity”
Well it’s true positivity does attract & breed positivity, that’s not just metaphorically speaking!
The cells in your body do a very important job: your cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to your organs. The oxygen carried within the cells helps to transport nutrients from your surroundings & from the food that you eat to where they are required within your body.
Cells that are fully oxygenated are positively charged cells; they are fast moving & full of energy.
Each cell that they come into contact then becomes positively charged & also becomes full of energy & fast moving.
This has a positive effect on not just your body but also your mood. If your cells are positively charged & full of energy they oxygenate your blood & pass vital nutrients into your system at a fast rate, which ensures that your body is working at its optimum. Fast moving positively charged cells aid your metabolism & help the body to break down stubborn fat cells.
Consume Essential Fatty Acids.
What are essential fatty acids?
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body, therefore we must source these vital nutrients through our diet or through supplementation. EFA’s are essential for rebuilding and producing new cells.
The two basic EFAs are Omega 3 and Omega 6.
These oils must be consumed in pure liquid or supplement form, which must be kept away from heat. Heat destroys essential fatty acids.
Omega 3 & Omega 6 fats are essential for our bodies to properly function.
The benefits of EFA’s include:
- Cell health
- Proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system
- Proper thyroid and adrenal activity (metabolism)
- Hormone production
- Regulation of blood pressure, liver function, immune and inflammatory responses
- Regulation of blood clotting: Omega-6 FAs encourage blood clot formation, whereas Omega-3 oil reduces clotting.
- Crucial for the transport and breakdown of cholesterol
- Support healthy skin and hair
- Natural anti-inflammatory
- Aid memory
- Keep us looking young!!!
The easiest way to ensure that we consume EFA’s is via supplementation, however, we should ensure that we are consuming EFA’s via our daily diet also, you can do this by;
- Eating oily fish 2 – 3 times per week
- Eating nuts & seeds
The recommended dosage of EFA’s via Fish oil capsules is 3000mg per day. (One with breakfast, one with lunch & one with dinner). Vegetarians or Vegans, you should supplement with Flaxseed capsules instead of Fish oil capsules.
For us ladies especially, hormones play havoc with our general health. For lots of us, our hormone cycle comes with many nasty side effects: Night sweats, bad dreams & crazy irrational, lunatic tendencies & If you are anything like me a bloated self-loathing mess!!
So why do we become a different person during this time & what can we do to prevent or suppress these symptoms?
Hopefully, I can help to answer that.
Hormones are to blame; we crave sugary & fatty foods. The desire to eat chocolate & other foods are due to the stress hormone cortisol spiking & your ‘feel good’ hormones serotonin dropping.
The fluctuation between the two makes your body crave food which contains lots of sugar & fats because sugars & fats boost serotonin levels. Serotonin combats the production of cortisol which makes you feel happier & more relaxed.
The sugar intake makes your insulin levels spike & gives you a temporary boost in energy, then comes the insulin crash which increases stress levels on your body (cortisol) & here we have a never-ending circle of cravings & mood swings.
All of this time your body is under huge strain, it’s no wonder we feel tired & emotional. The essential fatty acids in our body are being used up faster than ever to try to alleviate your body of the stress it is under.
Supplementing your diet with essential fatty acids (fish oils or flax seeds) & Vitamin C as above will help to combat these hormonal issues. Also, a chromium, magnesium & Zinc formula taken as just one tablet per day will help to combat cravings (please note that it can take approx 4 to 6 weeks of taking these supplements together consistently for your body to absorb these vitamins & be rid of a deficiency)
We are an all or nothing society, but as important as it is for our bodies to move, it is equally important to allow the body to rest.
Inadequate rest can lead to overtraining, exhaustion & injury. It can also hinder any aesthetic goals we are working towards; such as, losing weight or building muscle mass.
Over-exercising can also have a negative effect on our immune system. During periods of heavy activity, our immune systems are constantly activating to repair muscles and joints. Without proper rest, your immune system can’t catch up to all the repairs your body needs.
Rest days allow your muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue time to rebuild & grow. It also helps to combat stress (which we have discussed above.)
One to two days rest per week is adequate for the moderately active person. These can, however, be ‘active rest days’ this is where we still on the move but not overly exerting ourselves. Eg: walking the dog, gentle stretches, going for a swim.
So there you have it, my very easy essential health tips. By adding these small changes into your day I promise you will feel the benefit!
At Fitness Factory we are always happy to help if you wish to follow our blog posts. You can visit our website here: https://factorysupplements.co.uk/
If you wish to purchase any of the supplements from the blog above use the discount code:
Emily10 to recive 10% off!
We also have a FREE online Facebook community where we share tips on exercise, nutrition, supplements & we actively encourage our members to ask us questions.
Feel free to join here:
Good luck with your health & fitness goals!
Let’s make 2018 your fittest yet!