Childhood Obesity: The Elephant in the Room



No one wants to talk about childhood obesity, it's a tricky subject that leaves schools and parents feeling awkward and very uncomfortable. Not being a parent, i've never had to deal with this first hand, however, recently I've been in situations where child weight management has come into my threshold as a Personal Trainer and I've been trying to find ways to tackle it. Is it really as bad as we think? Well yes, take a look at the numbers....


Taken from statistics from 2015/2016, only 16% of children were consuming 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day, the foods that are classed as possibly the MOST nutritious for us, filling our bodies with vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, the facts go on to show that 1 in 5 year 6 children were obese with 1 in 10 reception children being classified as obese, this all being based on BMI. Now although there is some dispute of how good the BMI test is, it only really has major flaws for people such as athletes and bodybuilders who have body compositions away from the norm. But there is a clear message that unfortunately children in the UK are becoming heavier which really can have terrible repercussions later on in life, not to mention the few clear problems such as type two diabetes, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. But why is the problem getting worse? 


You can see from the tables above that physical activity levels is an issue that needs to be addressed, and although things are improving from 2012, only 20-23% of children are meeting the activity guidelines provided by the government. This is classed as moderate to vigorous activity for 60 minutes per day, not including during school time. This can include activities such as playing outside, swimming, cycling, gymnastics, the list goes on and on! The problem a lot of parents have is having the time to take their children to these activities, maybe intertwining your own workout with your child's exercise time could encourage your child to exercise more, whilst you get a workout in too. This could include taking them to their class in the local fitness centre whilst you go to the gym, or going for a family bike ride once a week, take a picnic and make a day of it! 



However, before the issue is addressed, it appears that some parents are not aware that there is an issue at all. 41% of mothers and 55% of fathers thought that their child was the right weight or too light when they were in fact obese. It is clear to see that adults may need to be made aware of the issues and this is in fact the first problem to tackle. But, going about this the right way may be tricky. Schools have now begun weighing children to find out their BMI and referring them to a dietician is necessary. Although, this does help to identify the problem with parents, putting a timescale of making the child lose weight can put a lot of pressure on both the parent and the child. Being a healthy shouldn't be seen as a task or chore, simply a way of life, and forcing a child to lose weight in a short space of time, in a forced way could impact the way they deal with their weight negatively as an adult. 

Ways to help 

Now I would first like to point out that I'm not a qualified nutritionist or registered dietician, I'm a Level 3 qualified Personal Trainer and offer fitness advice based on my own qualifications and experience and offer nutritional advice based on the guidelines of the government. I am not a doctor, therefore this is just simple, basic advice, not tailored to anyone specific 

Use the Eatwell Plate

The Eatwell plate can be a great place to start if you are having trouble working out what to eat, it shows you an estimate of how much fruit and veg you should have a day, as well as starchy carbohydrates, protein, dairy and the few sweet treats that should be in moderation. Check it out here

Get outdoors more

Now the sun is shining you've got no excuses not to get outside and do some exercise. Organising family days out on walks, cycles, playing in the park is easy and relatively cheap compared to a lot of other activities. Plus, if you're staying fit it encourages your children to stay fit too and shows a healthy way of living. 

Get creative in the kitchen 

Don't make it the job of mum to make all of the meals, get the kids involved too. If you can teach your children a bit more about food, where it comes from and what it does for your body, they will have more of an incentive to make the right choices. check out the Change 4 life website where they give you a variety of easy recipes you can make to give your children healthier meals. 


Cya! 
Eryn

Protein Pancakes

If you're working out a lot, it is essential to get a sufficient amount of protein, which means having protein with every meal, whether it be chicken, eggs, whey etc, but sometimes this isn't so tasty. So in my quest to make delicious meals healthy, i've got a lovely little pancake recipe for you to try. It's really simple and you can make it as healthy or naughty as you want with your choice of toppings. 


You will need: 

Serves 1 

1/2 Banana 
1 scoop of vanilla protein 
100ml of milk 
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence 
1 Egg 
30 Oats 
1/2 tsp baking powder

Method: 

1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender.
2. Pulse blend until smooth, if the mixture is too thick, add more milk.  
3. Add oil to a hot pan and pour a small portion of the mix to the pan.
4. Once the bottom is set and golden brown ( a few minutes), flip and cook the other side for a few minutes.
5.Keep making pancakes to your ideal size and top with your choice of topping!

Cya!
Eryn 

Post Hiking Yoga

Hiking and walking is soooo underrated as a form of good exercise. If you aren't prepared for a good long walk it can result in major muscle ache and tiredness post walk which you weren't expecting. Incline walks are a great form of exercise and beneficial for a lot of people, especially older people who may be less able to take part in high intensity exercise. Walking puts less of a strain on the knees compared to running and can really build up your leg muscles, you've seen pro hikers with the calves of Gods. But anyway, if you want to make sure your legs recover properly from a long walk it's important to stretch afterwards, as you would with any workout, so here are my favourite stretches to do after a hike...


Wide leg forward bend 

Separate your legs as wide as you can with a slight bend in your knees if more comfortable. Hinge your body downwards at the hips and then interlock your fingers behind your back, bringing them as high in the air as you can. This stretch not only gets your hamstrings but your chest as well, which often needs loosening if you've been carrying a backpack all day. 


Pigeon pose

This is my go to move for anyone who has tight hips, it can be a bit challenging so you've just got to practice, practice, practice. Place one knee in front whilst bringing the other leg behind you, try and square off your hips to the front of your matt (which will be difficult if you have tight hips like me). If you're trying to twist your hips to both face forwards you should feel the stretch in the front of your hip (hip flexors) and around your bum. 



Hamstring stretch with resistance

If you're a runner, hiker or cyclist, chances are some part of your legs are tight and for many people it's their hamstrings. This move is great if you don't have much flexibility as the resistance bands gives you a bit of leverage. If you can't straighten your leg then that's fine, just keep practising and work to get your leg as straight as possible for the best results. 


Butterfly

If you've ever done squats and not stretched properly, the next day you'll definitely have felt the burn in your inner thighs. This is your adductors, the little muscles inside your legs. Doing the butterfly stretch will stretch these muscles and leave you feeling not so tender after leg day.


Quad stretch 

Incline hikes can take their toll on your quadriceps so you'll 100% need to stretch them if you've been mountain/hill climbing. This stretch also opens up the hip flexors, and if you find it too challenging gripping onto your ankle with your hand, grab a small hand towel or a resistance band and wrap it around your foot. 


Seated back bend 

Walking is a very linear movement, backwards and forwards and you won't be twisting very much, therefore this seated back bend offers a little stretch and flexibility to your back when you've been in an upright position all day. Giving your back this movement will stop it from seizing and getting tight after a walk. 


Figure of 4

This is the glute workout of the Gods if you have a tight glute muscles. Place one foot over the opposite knee and pull your grounded leg off the floor by holding onto your thighs. Chances are if you haven't stretched your glutes before you're going to feel this one...

If you want any more hiking/stretching tips, comment below or drop me an email at eryn.barber96@gmail.com

Cya!
Eryn

F45 Fulham - 1st Class Training in London

Whatever chance I get to do exercise i'll take it, whether that means I'm supposed to be having a chilled out holiday in the sun or a city break, there's just a part of me that can't help it. So a couple of weeks ago when I visited London for the UK Blog Awards, my manager hooked me up with one of THE friendliest trainers I've ever met and I was put through my paces at an intense resistance session in Fulham. 

If you haven't already heard of F45 and you live in London then you need to get onto them ASAP, with over 15 studios in the London you're never far from a place to train. In my opinion it takes the best parts of resistance and cardiovascular training and combines them to make intense, but fun workouts. 


What happened in my session... 


So, it was already 25 degrees outside so you can imagine how sweaty the session was, but more sweat = better workout. I arrived at the boutique studio, as most people do visiting a new gym, a little apprehensive, is it going to be too hard? Are the trainers going to be nice? See, even this happens to Personal Trainers, but I was really pleasantly surprised. The staff and trainers were really welcoming, something you don't expect AS much in London compared to the North, the studio was super light and airy, and although small, they utilised the space really well, managing to easily fit a class of 12 of us. 

Trainer Christian looked after me during the session and made me feel really welcome, whilst throughout another two trainers kept an eye on my technique and pushed me with harder weights so I was really pushed above my normal training boundaries. Doing classes and training with a PT is a really good way to give you a good kick up the bum and remember how intense your training really should be. 

I did the Renegade resistance workout, 45 minutes, 3 exercises, 30 secs each exercises, 10 seconds rest, 2 rounds, 4 different circuits. That's 2 rounds of 12 exercises, and at first I was like "this is cool, I can do this"......4 minutes in I was definitely not feeling the same way, it was INTENSE but so worth it. I got a serious sweat on but everyone, even the other members were pushing each other to keep going and just get through, s/o to Christian for keeping me going! 

I would really recommend checking out F45 Fulham if you're ever in the area because you can guarantee whichever workout you do, you'll leave needed a long shower and a pizza, and that's exactly how you should feel when you've worked out. 

Cya!
Eryn

Slim Girl's Guide to Getting Strong

Just as a foreword to this blog post I want to say that there is nothing wrong with being slim, or any healthy body composition, embrace and be happy with your body type, this is just a post to give some advice to people who like me, are of a slim build and want to add more muscle as it can be hard. Having an ectomorph body type blesses you with a lean build but means it can be difficult getting that extra bit of mass on you, so here are a few key points you need to consider...


Weights Weights Weights 

Do not be afraid of weights, if you want to add muscle then they are going to be your best friend. The old myth that weights make up bulky is a thing of the past, that only happens with lots of food, and I mean lots. By lifting weights it works your muscles and gives them the chance to grow the harder you push them. Depending on you goal depends on how many reps you do, if you're into your long distance exercise then doing 15+ reps will work best for you as it builds your muscle endurance so that you can last longer for events such as a marathon. If you're looking to condition your body and want to add muscle whilst remaining in overall good health then 8-12 reps will probably work well for you. If you're looking for pure strength and want to focus on the ultimate strength of your body then you want to be going no higher than 6 reps, right down to a 1 rep max. Whether you're a beginner or you've been going to the gym for a while and want to get training yourself, start with large compound exercises such as squats, bench press and deadlifts to get results. 

Eat your Protein 

Again, there has been a lot of talk about protein only being for bodybuilders to get 'hench' but it's another myth. Protein is one of 3 macronutrients, along with fats and carbohydrates which are ESSENTIAL for our body. Protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of our body, they build and repair muscles, create enzymes that aid digestion and are also the base for our skin, hair and nails. If you're exercising then you need to have a sufficient amount so that your muscles can grow properly, that means around 1 gram per 1 pound of bodyweight when you're exercising regularly. Good sources of protein include chicken, turkey, red meat, eggs, greek yoghurt, pulses and tofu. 

Train 3-5 times a week 

Now this is your resistance training on top of any cardio you do, which includes, walking, running, cycling etc. These can be anything from 30 minutes a session and should involve weighted and bodyweight exercises to give your muscles some resistance to work against. Even if you don't always have access to a gym you can do a home bodyweight workout with exercises such as squats, press ups and burpees. 


Get plenty of rest

Rest is another essential part of physical exercise, as well as being physically exhausted without enough sleep, it can be detrimental to your progress. When you sleep your body is in the best position for recovery, meaning your muscles are repairing and growing at night, without a sufficient amount you're not giving your muscles the time they need to grow. Furthermore, if you're lacking energy a lot of the time then you won't be able to but 110% into your workouts and will be left feeling deflated even more once you've trained. 

Don't let anyone tell you you look like a boy

F**k the haters, there is nothing wrong with being strong and becoming a healthier version of you. The only reason people will be say things like this is because they are jealous and either wish they could look like you or had the courage to do what you've done. Embrace the muscle, not only will you look flipping fabulous but you'll be fitter and healthier, you'll be able to do everyday actions much easier and carrying the food shopping or lifting something up will no longer be a problem. 

Cya!
Eryn