What’s the secret to a sharp mind and a healthy body? For many of us we assume it’s keeping to that three-day a week gym regime and maintaining a calorie-controlled diet. However our experts Club Fitness Manager Hamit Buhara and nutritionist Nick Owen explain how a more holistic view can bring about bigger wins.
Maintain good posture
Hamit: “Our general mobility is important for our health so be mindful of your spine, especially, and your day-to-day posture. Think about tightness in your upper back. Gravity is always acting down so we need to think about extending the muscles in our back – the muscles along the posterior chain, the muscles along the spine and hips – just to make sure we hold ourselves upright."
Think about exercises that involve back extension – extensor exercises – and mobility exercises for the hips.
Food to make you feel better (not just look better)
Nick: “When we adopt an eating regime around getting a bigger body mass or less body fat we are focusing on the physicality of what we look like. But that’s just a part of it. For me, as well as what I look like, it’s about how I concentrate, it’s about how agile I am, it’s about being mobile. It’s also about brain power, it’s about having energy, it’s about being able to sleep – and the foods we eat have a huge impact on these things.
“Eat good quality food and our brains will be alive and able to transform very easily what we want to do into a movement. Eat poor quality food – or little food – and we won’t have the mental energy to carry those moves out properly."
A good balance of nutrients, proteins, fats and minerals will be the thing that day-in, day-out, powers our routine.
Release the tension
Hamit: “Tight muscles that surround joints actually trap energy. They are restricting the blood flow to that part of the body. When we stretch a tight muscle we instantly get a sense of release and feel a lot more relaxed. Because we’re extending our tissues, we’re hydrating them.
By dynamically moving our bodies we are better able to transmit our energy pathways and link brain to body function.
"There has been a big shift in the way we look at the body. For example ideas such as Animal Flow and our weekly class Primal Patterns work with our bodies in the space without any equipment. The reason why I think people get benefit from them is because people are stretching their body tissue and elongating.
"When we spend a lot of time in short, rounded posture types it traps a lot of that energy. But once you’ve gone through those kind of movements and exercises we release that tension.
"I don’t think we put enough investment into just moving well without the need of an external tool. It’s almost like we need to pick something up and throw it around to get the benefits we are looking for. But actually, just a stretch and to move within our own skins is so beneficial for us instead of trying to transmit that focus into a piece of equipment.”
Nick: “It’s great that someone eats well for a day or two, but it’s the underlying consistency that will make them feel and look better everyday."
With our training and eating, we have to ensure that it is moving us closer, slowly, every day towards our goals.
Hamit: “Our body’s are pretty resilient. We get away with quite a lot until it gets to a point when we start to see health-related issues from not looking after ourselves so well. So let’s get into the habit of thinking about two things on a daily basis:
- consuming a good nutritional grounding, based on whole foods as opposed to calories
- putting in some movements that can aid and assist the ageing process and its effects on the skeletal system."
Nick: “The important thing is this foundation. If we aim to get things right 80-90% of the time then that day when we miss the gym, or we get invited out for a pizza, it will be absolutely fine because our foundations around our food and exercise are strong. That gives us the room to enjoy both a healthy life and a social life.”