Men's Fitness - - Contents -

QI­know peo­ple who soak al­monds be­fore eat­ing them. Is there any sci­en­tific back­ing to this?

Matt, Bris­tol

‘This has been a topic in the al­ter­na­tive nu­tri­tion world for some time,’ says per­for­mance nutri­tion­ist Ben Coomber (ben­ ‘The the­ory goes that soak­ing breaks down phytic acid in the nut so the body can di­gest its nu­tri­ents more ef­fec­tively.’ Sounds good, but does it work? ‘Na­ture has many de­fence mech­a­nisms against be­ing eaten, in­clud­ing tox­ins, but rarely in amounts that are prob­lem­atic,’ Coomber says. ‘So un­til science backs this up, I’d con­tinue to eat those al­monds straight from the bag.’

Q Will­speed-laces im­prove my triathlon time?

Hut­ton, Lon­don

Th­ese small bungee cords al­low you to tighten your shoes quickly but un­less you’re al­ready push­ing the lim­its of your abil­ity, they won’t carry you onto the podium. How­ever, they might make your life eas­ier. ‘Try them and find out if there is a con­sis­tent fit ev­ery time you pull them on and if you can ad­just the fit while run­ning,’ sug­gests Bri­tish Triathlon Fed­er­a­tion coach Vanessa Gun­ner (ser­pen­

Q I’mtall and lanky and strug­gle to do back squats, but peo­ple keep telling me it’s point­less to train with­out them. What do I do?

Corey, Manch­ester

‘Split squats open up your hip flex­ors, al­low­ing you to lower safely into the squat,’ says W10 Per­for­mance coach Steve Kowalenko. But it’s not just your hips you need to fo­cus on. ‘You also need to work on your tho­racic mus­cles with ex­er­cises such as seated rows, which en­able you to keep your chest up­right and hold the bar safely in place.’

Q Ihave to fit my train­ing around my fam­ily and long work­ing hours, so the only time I can re­ally train is 6am – and it’s a strug­gle. How do I make it eas­ier? Danny, Le­ices­ter

We ad­mire your ded­i­ca­tion, Danny. ‘Plan­ning is key for early-morn­ing work­outs,’ says per­sonal trainer and nutri­tion­ist Glenn Hig­gins (glennhig­gins­fit­ ‘At the start of the week, set in stone the days you are go­ing to train and plan the ses­sions. The night be­fore the early-morn­ing ses­sion, prep your pre­work­out meal and lay your gym gear out ready to jump into with your bag packed.’ Fi­nally, put your favourite tunes on – a study in the Jour­nal Of Sport Be­hav­ior found that mu­sic re­duces per­ceived ex­er­tion in sub-max­i­mal ex­er­cise.

Q Lastis­sue you said mi­crowav­ing pasta had some health benefits. Isn’t mi­crowav­ing food gen­er­ally bad for you?

Keith, Powys

Short an­swer: no. ‘In­tro­duc­ing heat, wa­ter or air to food will de­stroy some nu­tri­ents, so you want to keep ex­po­sure to a min­i­mum,’ says Jared Wil­liams, owner of Fresh Fit­ness Foods. ‘In fact, mi­crowave cooking ex­poses most foods to less heat and wa­ter for a far shorter pe­riod of time, which means fewer vi­ta­mins and min­er­als are de­stroyed dur­ing cooking.’

Plan ahead to reap the benefits of an early

morn­ing work­out

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