EASY CHANGES

These small, com­mon-sense steps could lead to big im­prove­ments

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - COVER STORY -

IM­PROVE YOUR SNACK GAME

Snack­ing has a bad rep and rightly so – graz­ing on choco­late and crisps won’t help you to reach your health goals. How­ever, snack­ing can be a force for good if you go about it in the right way. A 4pm nib­ble will keep you fu­elled for the af­ter­noon and lessen your hunger in the evening, which is when many of us ha­bit­u­ally overeat. Make sure your snack con­tains pro­tein. A hand­ful of nuts, some low-fat Greek yo­gurt or an open salmon sand­wich are good ex­am­ples.

JC

KEEP A TEA TOWEL DOWN THE BACK OF THE SOFA

With the rise of seden­tary jobs, back is­sues are on the rise. These are ex­ac­er­bated by short ham­strings and stretch­ing them can help. Ev­ery time you lie on the sofa and switch on your fave box set, whip out your tea towel from be­hind the cush­ion. Hook one foot in the tea towel, straighten the leg and gently pull it to­wards you, feel­ing ten­sion down the back of your thigh. It’s eye-wa­ter­ingly good for you.

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MAKE SPORT SO­CIAL

Choose some­thing you re­ally en­joy – I play bad­minton but I also like to cy­cle. Many of my clients love Zumba and other dance-re­lated classes. Pick some­thing that in­volves so­cial­is­ing and isn’t soli­tary. This way you have the added ad­van­tage of the en­dor­phins that are re­leased when we have fun.

Philippe Ta­hon

MEA­SURE YOUR COF­FEE

Caf­feine is a po­tent tool: it has been shown to im­prove over­all per­for­mance by up to eight per cent in ath­letes; and fur­ther stud­ies have found that it boosts our con­cen­tra­tion and de­ci­sion­mak­ing skills. But use it too much and you can feel jit­tery and ir­ri­ta­ble.

The an­swer is to con­trol the dose. Cof­fee-shop cof­fees con­tain hugely vari­able amounts of caf­feine; in­stead, use a cof­fee pod ma­chine, which will sup­ply the same hit ev­ery time (around

60mg per cap­sule).

JC

SMARTEN UP YOUR LIGHT­ING

Light plays a vi­tal role in the reg­u­la­tion of our sleep­wake cy­cle. We want to darken down our evenings and be bright in the morn­ings to wake us up. A smart light­ing sys­tem will au­to­mat­i­cally adapt the bright­ness (and colour) of your bulbs as the day wears on. It means you can pre-pro­gramme your home to help you sleep bet­ter. Guy Mead­ows

CHOOSE YOUR CHINA

When I was work­ing with the Bri­tish ath­let­ics team, we had to find a way to de­crease the ath­letes’ food in­take as a com­pe­ti­tion drew near. Ath­letes train less in the lead-up to an event, so need to fuel less. Re­search shows that eat­ing from a big­ger plate in­creases the amount we serve our­selves by 41pc. So we gave ath­letes smaller plates, to make por­tions look big­ger.

JC

KEEP YOUR DRINK AT A DIS­TANCE

A huge pro­por­tion of us are de­hy­drated. You can’t think at your best level if you haven’t got the wa­ter in you to get your blood up to your head. I fill up a big bot­tle and drink it through­out the day. But I don’t keep it near me. I have to get up to get it, which means I get a screen break and a stretch too. LB

RE­MEM­BER YOUR POST-ITS

When I was com­pet­ing I used to have Post-it notes say­ing: “Is this go­ing to make me win gold?” I’d see it ev­ery time I was de­bat­ing whether to eat a choco­late bar or a cheese toastie. What­ever your goal is, ask your­self the ques­tion on your Post-it note. If the an­swer is “nah”, then don’t do it.

GE

FIND YOUR MIN­I­MAL EF­FEC­TIVE DOSE

I used to watch the strength and con­di­tion­ing coaches at Arse­nal ask: “What is the min­i­mal dose of re­sis­tance train­ing re­quired to keep strength and power lev­els at their peak?” They wanted play­ers to stay supremely fit

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