EVERY MONTH WE ANSWER THE KEY FITNESS QUESTIONS
QShould I carry a water bottle when running?
‘On a long run, yes,’ says running coach Gerald Smith, owner of running coach london. co.uk. ‘Your blood is mostly made of water so as you sweat your blood will thicken and your blood pressure will rise. That means you’ll find it harder to exercise.’ If you don’t want to carry a bottle, try the Snap flask belt from amphipod.com (pictured), which holds water vessels comfortably and securely for easy one-handed access.
QShould I change my protein, carbs and fat ratios in winter because of the cold?
‘You don’t need to change your diet macros massively just because it’s a bit brisk,’ says Emma Barraclough, senior nutritionist at Science in Sport. ‘However, if it’s affected your activity level that’s a different story. If you’re doing less cardio then you’ll need to drop the percentage of calories you get from carbohydrates, increasing your protein to compensate.’
QI know someone who got a staph infection. It was nasty. Should I worry about catching one at the gym?
‘In theory it is possible to catch a staphylococcal infection in the gym from bacteria lurking on gym equipment or yoga mats,’ says Dr Stefanie Williams, medical director at European Dermatology London. ‘Fortunately, the risk of acquiring such an infection is low.’ But what if you’re the unlucky one? ‘It’s worth tweaking your gym routine to be on the safe side,’ says Williams. ‘Make sure you shower immediately after exercising, wash all your gym clothes after each use and wipe any gym equipment as well as the inside of your gym bag with anti-bacterial wipes.’ But you do all that already, right?
QI’vetrained for most of my life but recently my motivation isn’t what it used to be. How do I jump-start my desire to get in shape again?
Simple: forget about motivation, and create routines instead. ‘Rather than battling to work up the motivation every time you want to exercise, create an if/then plan for yourself to follow,’ says Professor Richard
Wiseman, psychologist and author of 59 Seconds: Think A Little, Change A Lot. ‘For example, if I don’t make it to the gym, then I’ll do a bodyweight circuit at home. Plan the circuit in advance, and you won’t have to engage your brain when you’re low on willpower.’ Work out more with mates, too – accountability is a great incentive to train.
QMFrecommended tuna as a muscle-builder. Isn’t there a risk of mercury poisoning?
Mercury levels are higher in predatory fish such as tuna – but don’t panic just yet. ‘Tuna is safe to eat in moderation – no more than three times a week,’ says Helen Barklam, a BANT-registered nutritional therapist. ‘It also contains the mineral selenium, which is thought to alleviate the toxicity of mercury by binding to it and preventing its absorption in places it can cause harm.’ So start cooking.
Struggling to motivate yourself? Trick your brain into forming