09 Welcome 10 Highlights 12 Store finder 16 News 24 Events 30 Recipes 36 Tech trends
Lifestyle & Health
Plant power smoothies
Charissa’s journey to losing 80kg
54 Your health
Brighten up your health with vitamin D
56 Maintaining health Tips to stay ahead of common health issues
48 Portion control
Society’s obesity issue
What to do
MEET THE TEAM Ashley Butler
Registered nutritionist and serves as Dis-Chem’s national nutrition and wellness expert.
Lifestyle and wellness expert, exercise specialist, Biogen ambassador.
Christelle Bekker Dis-Chem’s National Technical Compliance Manager, ensuring quality assurance requirements.
YOU’RE NEVER OUT OF THE RACE
From a debilitating car accident to the Ironman finish line in a wheelchair.
Train like a warrior
Your six-pack guide
70 Not seeing results?
Find out how quickly your results will show
Why intermittent fasting is a diet worth considering
Mobility drills you should be doing Solid vs liquid energy
114 Athlete profile 78 Supplements
Unchain your gains with BCAAs
Ride for Sight 2020 & Dis-Chem Half Marathon
WORKOUT FIT FOR WARRIORS
You don’t have to be a CrossFitter to train like one. LET’S DO THIS!
An elite South African trail runner, Biogen-sponsored athlete & running coach
An endurance coach, nutrition & physiology expert with 20+ years experience & a 32Gi co-founder.
Founder and head coach at WT Human Performance.
THINK LEAN Probiotics which beneficially affects the intestinal flora by selectively stimulating the growth of beneficial gut flora which positively affects intestinal health and Fibre, which assists in keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Our Primal Diet Shake has been specifically formulated by women with womenâ€™s specific needs in mind.
L-Carnitine helps to delay fatigue during physical activity and helps in the support of fat metabolism and oxidation. Vitamins & Minerals which contribute to your overall well-being.
Digestive Enzymes to assist your body with better digestion and absorption of key ingredients.
Take advantage of the season...
T HAPPENS EVERY YEAR. YOU MUST’VE FELT IT? PERHAPS YOU’VE SEEN THE SIGNS? Those crisper mornings. The shorter days. Leaves that fade from rich greens to a light brown hue. It can only mean one thing. Autumn is on its way!
But before you entertain any thoughts of hibernation, consider how you can embrace this transitional period and use the new season to your advantage. Rather than lament the drop in temperature and curse the dark drive to your early morning gym session, stop for a moment and take stock. Autumn is all about contrasts. Rather than resist the change, why not apply the same principle to your usual approach? Contrast your weight training with some outdoor activity to take advantage of the cooler outside temperatures and experience the changing colours in nature. Contrast your diet by switching seasonal summer ingredients for hearty, earthy autumn produce. And, while you’re at it, why not contrast your morning coffee by ditching the
sugar and adding some pumpkin spice instead? However you choose to change things up this autumn, Dis-Chem and the Living Fit team have you covered. Visit your nearest Dis-Chem Pharmacy for a range of better-foryou foods and ingredients that can spice up your autumn cuisine. You can also change up your supplement plan by trying a new flavour of your favourite product, or perhaps even a new brand? There are also a whole host of new products hitting store shelves over the coming weeks that will tantalise your taste buds, while helping you achieve your goals. As the popular phrase states, the only constant is change. So don’t resist it. Embrace it and use the start of a new season to renew your focus and commitment to a fit and healthy lifestyle. We’re with you all the way!
Yours in health and performance,
Paul McHarg Dis-Chem Health Category Manager
LIVING FIT dischem.co.za/livingfit 9
READY FOR FIT LIFT-OFF! W
e’ve hurtled through the first quarter of 2020. Are you still on track to achieve your goals?
Whether you’re surging towards your sporting, physique or health oriented objectives, or you’re still trying to find your groove, this issue of Living Fit will steepen the trajectory of your progression curve. The formula for success is simple. It’s all about dedication to a training program and steadfast adherence to your diet and supplement plan. With that in mind, we’ve got all the bases covered. For any novice wondering when you start to see results from a transformation or fitness plan, turn to page 70 to find out when you can expect to realise those improvements you’re chasing. If you’re looking for a more effective nutritional approach, give intermittent fasting a try. It was the top diet-related search in 2019, according to Google’s annual Year In Search report, and for good reason. This form of fasting can help you lose weight, improve your health and may even provide sporting performance benefits. Read more about it on page 72. Craft the ultimate six-pack (page 92), or crush your own CrossFit-
DISCHEM.CO.ZA/LIVINGFIT Living Fit Magazine is published on behalf of by
style workout in the gym (page 60). And there’s inspiration a-plenty in this issue! Don’t miss Alwyn Uys’ compelling story as we plot his journey from a debilitating car accident to the Ironman finish line in a wheelchair. Charissa Jacobs also shares the inspiring story behind her astonishing weight loss transformation, which helped her shed a staggering 80 kilos! You can also read about the generosity of South African endurance athletes who competed in this year’s Dis-Chem Half Marathon and the Dis-Chem Ride for Sight cycle race. These two iconic events raised more than R120,000 for worthy causes. And for those athletes looking to chase loftier challenges, we share insights from top local coaches on how to successfully transition from the marathon to an ultra-distance event (see more on page 120), and we break down the intricacies of endurance fuelling with our report on solid versus liquid energy sources (page 110). As always, we’ve got something for everyone in the latest edition of your favourite health and fitness magbook. Onward to greater success in 2020!
Yours in fit living,
Publisher: Tanja Schmitz firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor: Pedro van Gaalen email@example.com Design: Joel Smith firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: email@example.com Copy Editing: Lauren de Beer Online Media: Rudy Mahabeer CUSTOMER CARE: Care-line: 0860 347 243 Telephone: 011 589 2200 Mondays to Fridays: 08:00 to 16:30 firstname.lastname@example.org Head Office: Cnr Le Roux & Stag Rd Glen Austin, Midrand, South Africa Price and product disclaimer
All products, prices and special offers displayed or advertised in this magazine were correct at the time of print. Pricing and product availability in-store or online are subject to change without prior notice. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy and relevance in this regard, Dis-Chem and Io Media accept no responsibility for pricing changes, discrepancies and typographical errors, and cannot be held liable for any potential loss, damage or expense incurred as a consequence. In instances of errors, Dis-Chem reserves the right to cancel offers advertised at the incorrect price. Additional restrictions may apply.
Dis-Chem Pharmacies (Pty) Ltd and Io Media (Pty) Ltd cannot guarantee the accuracy of the content in this publication, which is provided for general information purposes only – no part of it constitutes medical advice. No liability is assumed by Dis-Chem, Io Media, Living Fit or its contributors for the information provided in the magazine and actual product performance and efficacy may vary based on many factors. Readers are advised to discuss any exercise, dietary, supplement or nutraceutical interventions with a suitably qualified medical, exercise or nutrition expert for individualised advice. Dis-Chem and Io Media accept no responsibility for any direct or indirect loss, damage or injury readers may suffer as a result of using or relying on any information contained in this magazine. All rights reserved.
The Dis-Chem Living Fit team Printed by
tdischem_livefit idischem_livingfit fdischem_livingfit 10 Dis-Chem Living Fit
STORE FINDER AND SERVICES GAUTENG PHARMACIES JOHANNESBURG/ SANDTON Athol Oaklands 011 430-0600 Bedford Square 011 417-2600 Benmore 011 783-9715 Campus Square 010 612-0957 Carlswald 011 697-0800 Cresta 011 478-0101 Dainfern Square 011Â 469-9040 Eastgate Mall 010 541-0031 Ferndale Mall now open 010 541-0150 Fourways Mall 011 465-4420 Gandhi Square 010 612-0786 Killarney 011 486-9660 Mall of Africa 010 003-0056 Mall of the South 011 682-4900
Sunninghill 087 358-9792
Sunward Park 010 541-0023
East Point Mall 011 823-5315
The Local Choice 015 612-0509
The Glen 011 436-8740
ALBERTON Bracken Gardens 011 900-1525
Farramere 011 749-6900
NORTH WEST PHARMACIES
Festival Mall 011 975-3681
HARTBEESPOORT Hartbeespoort 012 253-9600
Verdi 011 446-1900 Victory Park 011 446-1960 Woodmead 011 233-0040 SOWETO Maponya Mall 010 003-7090 WEST RAND Clearwater Mall 011 831-2140 Cradlestone 011 668-6760 Krugersdorp 011 951-5800 Randfontein 010 612-0070 Roodepoort 011 768-5665 Valley View 010 612-0390 Westgate 011 767-4340 EAST RAND Albermarle 010 541-0027
Newmarket Mall 010 003-9993 SPRINGS Springs Mall 010 003-2904 VANDERBIJL PARK Vaal Mall 016 910-1000 Vanderbijlpark 016 985-9000 HEIDELBERG Heidelberg Mall 016 341-0204 The Local Choice 010 612-0021 VEREENIGING Three Rivers 016 454-7500 PRETORIA Brooklyn Mall 012 433-0440 Centurion Lake Mall 012 663-9363 Glenfair 012 472-8720 Hazeldean 012 809-4140
Glen Acres 011 391-2399 Greenstone 011 663-9900 Greenvalley 010 003-6214 Meadowdale 010 612-0357
POTCHEFSTROOM Potchefstroom 018 293-3890
Modderfontein 010 612-6394
RUSTENBURG Greystone Crossing 014 541-0046
Rynfield Terrace 010 003-9991
Rustenburg 014 537-6480
Sunward Park 010 541-0023
WESTERN CAPE PHARMACIES
ALBERTON Bracken Gardens 011 900-1525
CAPE TOWN Bayside 021 522-6140
Newmarket Mall 010 003-9993
Blue Route 021 710-1230
SPRINGS Springs Mall 010 003-2904
Canal Walk 021 551-5551
Wonderpark 012 549-9840 Woodlands 012 994-9292
Mondeor 011 680-5676
Bedford Square 011 417-2600
Jean Avenue 012 640-0600
Morningside 010 612-0950
Boksburg North 011 306-1500
Jubilee Mall 012 612-0070
Nicolway 011 267-8800
Carnival Mall 011 897-5620
Loftus Park 012 612-0285
Northgate 011 794-9433
East Point Mall 011 823-5315
Lynnwood Road 012 362-3633
Norwood 011 728-0940
Farramere 011 749-6900
Mall@55 Centurion 010 612-0109
Park Meadows 011 616-8933
Festival Mall 011 975-3681
Montana 012 523-9120
Park Station 011 221-2600
Glen Acres 011 391-2399
Menlyn Park Shopping Centre 012 003-0108
Randridge 011 792-5717
Greenstone 011 663-9900
Olympus 012 991-0044
Rosebank 011 772-1200
Greenvalley 010 003-6214
Raslouw 012 656-6340
Sandton 010 612-0481
Meadowdale 010 612-0357
Soshanguve 021 612-0250
POLOKWANE Savanah Mall 015 296-9000
Southgate 011 942-0920
Modderfontein 010 612-6394
The Club Surgical 012 612-0013
Platinum Park 015 297-1582
Strubensvalley 011 991-3600
Rynfield Terrace 010 003-9991
Wonderboom Junction 012 543-8900
Polokwane North 015 265-0300
12 Dis-Chem Living Fit
KLERKSDORP Klerksdorp 018 487-7300
MPUMALANGA PHARMACIES MIDDELBURG Middelburg 013 244-9800 NELSPRUIT Nelspruit 013 757-9383 White River now open 013 541-0002 SECUNDA Secunda 017 634-9460 WITBANK Highveld Mall 013 692-9500 LIMPOPO PHARMACIES
Cape Gate 021 983-1000 Central Park 021 003-2947 Claremont Cape 021 673-1480 Liberty Promenade Mall 021 003-0108 Mutual Park 021 612-0310 Noordhoek 021 784-4400 Sea Point 021 430-2100 Somerset Mall 021 850-5940 Table Bay 021 612-0172 Tygervalley 021 917-7500 Zeevenwacht 021 900-9160 GEORGE George 044 801-9800 York Street now open 044 108-0010
MOSSEL BAY Mosselbaai Mall 044 333-0074 PAARL Paarl Mall 021 863-5060 WORCESTER Worcester 023 346-5340 EASTERN CAPE PHARMACIES EAST LONDON Hemmingway 043 709-4400 JEFFREYS BAY Jeffreys Bay 042 293-4833 PORT ELIZABETH Baywest 087 359-0298 Cape Road 041 396-2600 Walmer Park 041 398-2200 NORTHERN CAPE PHARMACIES KIMBERLEY North Cape Mall 053 836-7700 UPINGTON Kalahari Mall 054 050-0956 FREE STATE PHARMACIES BLOEMFONTEIN Langenhoven Park 087 359-0924 Loch Logan 051 411-6140 Northridge Mall 051 778-0100 Preller Square 051 108-0095 KWAZULU-NATAL PHARMACIES BALLITO Ballito 032 946-8580
Ballito Lifestyle 031 612-0321 DURBAN Amanzimtoti 031 904-9550 Bluff 031 482-2700 Cornubia 031 612-0601 Gateway 031 612-0080 Glen Lucia 031 572-9950 Hillcrest 031 761-4380 Overport 031 203-0540 South Coast Mall 031 612-0070 The Pavillion 031 275-1820 Watercrest Mall 031 763-8400 Westville 031 279-1999 NEW CASTLE New Castle 034 940-0933 PIETERMARITZBURG Midlands Mall 033 328-3600 PINETOWN Pinecrest 031 612-0300 RICHARDS BAY Richards Bay 035 780-8840 NAMIBIA PHARMACIES SWAKOPMUND Swakopmund 002 64 833 300 400 WINDHOEK The Grove Mall 002 64 833 300 300 WALVIS BAY Walvis Bay 002 64 642 84300/1/4 Wernhill 002 64 812 320 100 NOW OPEN De Wiekus (Kempton Park) N1 City (Western Cape)
HERMANUS Hermanus 028 050-2189
Dis‑Chem Direct Get free delivery nationwide of your chronic and prescription medication if you live in a 15km radius of your branch. Chronic medication can also be couriered by Dis‑Chem Direct. Email: email@example.com Baby Wellness Clinics Baby Wellness Clinics offer a full spectrum of relevant services: * Weight, measurement, milestone and development assessments * All scheduled vaccinations * Nutritional timelines * Colic or breast-feeding problems Wellness Clinics Wellness Clinics in every branch are managed by qualified nursing practitioners who provide a wide range of general health services including: * Full lipid profile and HbA1c * Blood pressure monitoring * Glucose, hypertension and cholesterol testing * BMI measurement * Vitamin injections * Wound care (selected branches only) * Weight management * HIV screening and testing * Diabetic care * Professional advice and referrals
Dis‑Chem Skin Strategy Beauty Salon Available within Dis‑Chem stores, the skincare salons are manned by qualified beauty therapists who attend to your every need in a relaxing and professional manner. Packages available at our salons include: * Facials Soft laser / Biomagnetic Micro Dermabrasion / Schiatu * Manicures & pedicures * Medi heel * Slimming * Spray tan * Massages Back & neck / Full body / Pregnancy / Baby * Waxing & threading * Eyelash tinting * Nail make-overs Acrylic / Gel / Gelish Special packages and promotions periodically – enquire in store for details. Dis‑Chem Hair Salon Dis‑Chem Professional Hair Salons (currently available in store at eight branches – see directory alongside) offer professional advice on everything from hairstyles that suit the shape of your face, to the products stocked and which are best suited to your particular style kind of hair type. Phone to book an appointment for your haircut by one of our professionally-trained hairstylists. Dis‑Chem Wound Care Clinic Dis‑Chem Wound Care Clinics found in selected branches, are managed by qualified nursing practitioners who can address: * Wound care * Minor burns * Diabetic care * Stitch removal dischem.co.za/livingfit 13
LOYALTY BENEFIT PARTNERS
TOTAL Filling up at New a TOTAL service station just got more rewarding! Simply swipe your Dis‑Chem Loyalty Benefit Card when you’re paying for your fuel, and you’ll earn Benefit Points. For every litre of fuel you will receive 10 Dis‑Chem Loyalty Benefit Points. You can earn points on a maximum of three swipes per day. ONLY FUEL PURCHASES WILL EARN YOU BENEFIT POINTS.
BESTMED BestMed members earn additional Dis‑Chem Loyalty Benefit Points. To activate this offer, visit the Dis‑Chem customer service desk in store with your BestMed Medical Aid Card.
DISCOVERY HEALTHYCARE Members registered on the Discovery HealthyCare Benefit now get up to 25% cash back in Benefit Points with HealthyCare on a range of specialised products at Dis‑Chem that will help them live a healthier lifestyle.
LEGACY LIFESTYLE Lifestyle Members earn and redeem Legacy Rands by simply linking their Dis‑Chem Loyalty Benefit Card with their Legacy Lifestyle membership. To activate or for more information visit: www.legacylifestyle.co.za/ dischem.
If you do not have a Dis‑Chem Loyalty Benefit Card, please contact the Dis‑Chem careline, visit your nearest Dis‑Chem store or visit our website
www.dischem.co.za If you would like to speak to a customer care consultant, please contact us at: Care line: 0860 347 243 Telephone: 011 589 2200 Mondays to Fridays: 8:00 to 16:30 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
14 Dis-Chem Living Fit
MEDIHELP Medihelp Lifestages members can earn relevant Dis‑Chem Loyalty Benefit Points when they register to be a part of the programme. Visit www.medihelp.co.za for more information.
MOMENTUM MULTIPLY Multiply Wellness members earn points on their Dis‑Chem Loyalty Benefit Card based on their Momentum Multiply Status.
When you’re a SchoolDays® member, every swipe of your Dis‑Chem Loyalty Benefit Card will save for your child’s education. Your everyday spend at Dis‑Chem will grow your child’s School-Days® bursary, and family and friends can also link their spend to the bursary. Signing up for School-Days® is easy! Simply SMS “Dischem” and your ID number to 45277 or sign up at www.schooldays.co.za/dischem.
THE DIS‑CHEM FOUNDATION The Dis‑Chem Foundation provides care and support to improve the lives of individuals within organisations. A beneficiary of the Dis‑Chem Loyalty Benefit programme.
WHAT OUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS DESERVE
SHOP SAFELY IN THE DIS‑CHEM ONLINE SHOP
If you are pressed for time, rather buy your cosmetics, fragrances, skin care, body lotion, bath products as well as health and wellness items from Dis‑Chem’s online shop! Best of all, Dis‑Chem online offers a range of safe payment options. There are so many reasons to shop online for your favourite health and beauty products. Dis‑Chem offers 3D secure payments (SA), delivery, an easy returns policy and multiple payment options. You have seven different payment options to purchase products online: Loyalty Benefit Points, eBucks, Pay on Collection (you can place your order and only pay when you come in store to collect), Zapper, Credit Card: 3D Secure, EFT and Discovery Miles. Click on the payment method icon (www.dischem.co.za) to find out more about each option. 3D Secure is a security measure aimed at protecting customers against credit card fraud when shopping online. The cardholder will need to register for the service, at no additional cost, and then use a password or use a One Time Pin for authentication when shopping online in future. When an e-commerce transaction occurs on a 3D Secure website, and the cardholder is paying using a credit card enrolled in 3D Secure, either the MasterCard or Visa pop up or
online security screen appears. The cardholder enters his/her 3D Secure password for authentication, and upon successful verification, the transaction is processed. Though verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode, credit cards can be protected against unauthorized use when shopping online. As the customer, you need to register yourself online or with your bank, and once activated, your card number cannot be used for purchases without your personal password. Certain banks automatically enrol their customers in the 3D Secure programme. Dis‑Chem Online delivers from Monday to Friday, between 08:00 and 17:00. Delivery (costing you a flat rate of R60 per order, or free of charge for orders over R600) takes three to five working days from when your order has been placed and paid for. If you are for any reason dissatisfied with an item purchased from our Online Store, you may return it to any Dis‑Chem store for a full refund, replacement, or exchange, provided you have the original tax invoice, items are returned within six months of purchase and the product has not expired within such time. It is the client’s responsibility to ensure the item is returned to the Online store. Please note there are laws prohibiting the return of medication.
Convenience, variety, no crowds and shopping in the comfort of your home has Dis‑Chem customers clicking for the items they need without even leaving their home. It’s that easy! With Dis‑Chem’s Click & Collect – available in all stores – you can pay for items online and collect in-store. Best of all, there is no additional cost to this service. We will send you an email and SMS once your order is ready to collect. Click & collect operational hours have been set up for your convenience. Weekday orders placed before 09:00 will be ready for collection from 13:00 the same day. If you order between 09:00 and 12:00 your order will be ready from 16:00 the same day and orders placed after 12:00 can be collected by 11:00 the following day. The service is also available on weekends and public holidays. Orders placed on Saturdays before 9:00 can be collected from 13:00 the same day, while orders after 9:00 can be collected from 13:00 on the following Monday. On Sunday and public holidays collection is from 13:00 the next working day. You will need to
OUR LOYALTY BENEFIT PROGRAMME
Because loyalty should be rewarded! Benefit even more from Dis‑Chem’s unbeatable prices by becoming a Loyalty Benefit Programme Member. Select an Interest Group and receive benefits and information to suit your specific needs and lifestyle. You can earn Loyalty Points on qualifying purchases every time you swipe your card in store at the till, or simply by shopping online. Join the Dis‑Chem Loyalty Benefit Programme by registering at dischem.co.za or by signing up in store. Also, by shopping at Dis‑Chem Pharmacies and swiping your Dis‑Chem Loyalty Benefit Card, not only do we reward you, but a percentage of all eligible purchases will be donated to the Dis‑Chem Foundation to assist worthy causes. Interest Groups include:
For Youth programme
Our new For Youth programme provides 18- to 25-year-olds with ongoing specials and benefits, all tailored specifically for their needs and aspirations. Sign up today and collect your new For Youth card to activate the benefits.
Accelerate your points with our host of banking, medical aid and pure loyalty partners. Find out more information on our website www.dischem.co.za or in store at the Customer Service desk.
take your order number with you when you collect your items. We will also ask you to present a valid I.D. such as a driver’s license, ID document/card or passport. You can send someone on behalf of yourself to collect, as long as they have the unique order number and they can verify your name, surname and ID number. The Click & Collect service is available seven days a week. You can include over-the-counter medications with your online shopping, but not prescription meds. For prescription meds you will need to go in-store to collect. In cases of chronic medication with a repeat script for six months, Dis‑Chem will contact you and remind you that your meds are due for collection, and ensure they are ready for collection at a branch convenient for you, or deliver them to your address. You can also download the Dis‑Chem app, scan in your prescription and collect from the branch of your choice. Please note there are laws prohibiting the return of medication. dischem.co.za/livingfit 15
NEW IN STORE
Biogen B-Complex BURST Shot
NEW IN STORE
Get your daily dose of B complex vitamins in the new and convenient 50ml liquid B-BURST shot, with a nifty twist lid that dispenses instantly. B vitamins have various functions in the body, including aiding energy production, maintaining healthy skin and mucous membranes, and supporting nervous system function. Simply twist the lid, shake for 5-10 seconds and drink. Available in all Dis-Chem stores nationwide.
Biogen Daily Wellness pack
Get your daily dose of wellness vitamins, minerals, probiotics and omegas in a comprehensive daily pack and save up to 20% every month. This triple value pack contains Biogen Multivitamin Plus, a high-potency multivitamin and mineral supplement; Biogen Omega-3, an essential fatty acid supplement with 18:12 ratio of EPA:DHA in triglyceride form; as well as Biogen Probiotic 9-Strain to normalise microbial balance in the intestines, support digestive function and improve overall gut health.
16 Dis-Chem Living Fit
Biogen Sweet Potato Powder Biogen’s raw and wholefood based supplement is a South African fitness industry first, and an exciting addition to the well-established Core Range. This innovative product serves the need for a high-quality performance and recovery carbohydrate source. For those who take their macros and ‘fit food’ seriously, Sweet Potato Powder provides 25g of a low-glycaemic carbohydrate source per serving to aid performance and recovery. Available from Dis-Chem stores nationwide from April.
Biogen Rage Series Ultra Mass Biogen Rage Ultra Mass is a cutting-edge muscle building formulation that contains a quality protein source, offering high levels of amino acids. Added taurine and tribulus terrestris contribute to power and strength development, while the highly bioavailable ingredients are easily absorbed. Available in Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cream, Strawberry and Vanilla flavours
IN STORE NOW
NPL Anabolic Whey and NPL Muscle Armour NPL Anabolic Whey has been fortified with creatine monohydrate, glycine, taurine and ZMA, which may increase growth hormone and testosterone production to promote lean muscle growth and boost muscle recovery. With 27g of protein per serving, Anabolic Whey also contains high levels of BCAAs and other EAAs, which are required for muscle growth.
NPL Series Black Muscle Armour will rapidly increase muscle recovery after training, and protect your hard-earned lean muscle gains. Muscle Armour is an all-in-one recovery and strength product that helps you perform at your best, every day.
ON SHELF NEW PRODUCT RELEASES NOW IN STORE
No matter your aim, Nuclear Nutrition can help you gain an advantage and destroy your workouts. Nuclear Nutrition products are now available at selected Dis-Chem stores.
Nuclear Nutrition is committed to creating formulations of the highest calibre.
NPL Elite Food Gainer A real food energy source, with brown rice, white rice, maize, milled oats and quinoa.
NEW IN STORE
NPL Jump Start Box Kick-start a healthier 2020 with NPL’s Jump Start Ultimate Fat Loss Kit. The kit provides everything you need to succeed, including a customised eating plan, at-home and gym workout routines to follow and, of course, an effective fat loss stack from NPL. The stack includes: NPL Diet Pro, a high-protein, highfibre meal replacement NPL Thermo Cuts, a moodenhancing fat burner NPL Nighttime Burn, which helps you to recover and reduce stress NPL Water Cuts, an all-natural diuretic A free NPL shaker
NEW IN STORE
Lifestyle Food’s new MCT oil fits in perfectly with a keto lifestyle.
18 Dis-Chem Living Fit
Let NAMEDSPORT> superfoods fuel your passion The targeted, high-quality NAMEDSPORT> superfood products enable athletes to benefit from a range of products that lays the foundations for optimal athletic performance. NAMEDSPORT> supplements provide a range of nutrients required before, during and after sporting activity. All formulas contain first-rate ingredients, combined to create effective formulations to match the lifestyle of athletes. NEW IN STORE
Lifestyle Food range gets saucy additions
Look out for the latest additions to the extensive Lifestyle Food range at Dis-Chem to boost your diet plan’s flavour profile. These sauces are ideal for sugar-conscious dieters who don’t want to compromise on taste. Try the sugar-free Basting, BBQ or Prego sauce with your favourite meats, or the sugar-free vegan salad dressing for meat-free meals. The Sweet Chilli sauce contains no added sugar for a less sinful option.
USN Qhush Spike X300 Blue Gaming Extreme energy isnâ€™t just for physical activity, it can also give you a mental edge. USNâ€™s popular Spike X300 spin-off Qhush is now available in a Blue Gaming variant, offering 300mg of caffeine and 200mg of vitamin B for extreme energy and focus.
NEW IN STORE
USN Trust Crunch Vegetarian Bar This delicious bar contains 18g of protein and just 2.5g of sugar per serving, offering a high-protein on-the-go snack or treat option. Available in Raspberry Cheesecake flavour.
USN Trust Protein Cookie These tasty cookies, ideal for a convenient snack or guilt-free treat, contain 20g of protein and a mere 1.1g of sugar per serving. They are also suitable for vegetarians. Available in Birthday Cake and Cookies & Cream flavours.
USN Keto Alkaline Powder
This alkalising supplement powder contains a combination of tissue salts, minerals and seaweed that assists the body to achieve acid and alkaline balance. Added L-glutamine (2000mg) assists with muscle recovery. It is an ideal product for muscle recovery, sustained energy and to achieve & support optimal pH balance. dischem.co.za/livingfit 19
NEW IN STORE
NEW IN STORE
Evox 100% Pure Egg Protein
NEW IN STORE
The all-new Evox 100% Pure Egg Protein is a dairy- and lactose-free daily protein supplement to enhance muscle recovery and growth and prevent muscle catabolism. Made from organic egg whites contains 22.3g highly bioavailable protein and less than 1g sugar per serving. The ideal option for individuals who are lactose intolerant or prefer dairy alternatives. Available in Juicy Grape and Apple Kiwi flavours.
Muscle Junkie Freak Mass
SSN Dual System Whey
A new, revolutionary blend of micellar whey and 100% whey protein concentrate for a stagerelease effect and continuous amino acid release to enhance muscle recovery. Each serving of 100% Dual System Whey contains 20,8g of protein per serving and no added sugar. Micellar whey has a larger particle size than whey concentrate, which yields a gradual absorption rate, whereas whey concentrate reaches peak absorption within 1 hour. Available in Chocolate and Vanilla flavours.
The perfect addition to your supplement plan when bulking. Freak Mass is a fully-loaded blend of carbs including isomaltulose, waxy maize starch and maltodextrin to boost your carb intake and aid muscle growth. Freak Mass is a versatile, unflavoured powder and easily mixes into your shakes and meals. Each serving of Freak Mass contains 23g of fast- and slow-absorbing carbs per serving.
NEW IN STORE
Supashape Whey & Collagen Bar Enjoy the convenience of a protein bar with added hydrolysed collagen to aid skin, hair, nail and joint health in the all-new Supashape Whey & Collagen Bar. This glutenfree bar contains 15g protein, of which 5g is collagen. With only 2g net carbs and 1.9g sugar, this is the ideal guilt-free snack bar. Available in Salted Caramel, Raspberry Swirl and Dark Chocolate Espresso flavours.
NEW IN STORE
Herbex UltraSlim Herbex has spent 25 years refining the science of weight loss, and is about to unleash a weight-loss evolution! Building on the Herbex legacy, the company has launched UltraSlim – a combination of three tablets that includes a metabolic enhancer, a blood sugar balancer and a digestive aid. When taken in the morning, afternoon and evening, Herbex UltraSlim will boost your metabolism, balance your blood sugar to reduce cravings, and will aid your digestion, which all helps you to lose weight throughout the day. Includes 20 free Metabolic Enhancer tea bags.
If you have a Planet Fitness gym membership you can earn an additional 10% back in DisChem Benefit points when buying products from leading local supplement brands including USN, Supashape, SSN, Evox and Biogen.
take 10 % back
Existing Planet Fitness and Dis-Chem Loyalty Benefit members can simply swipe their Benefit card and earn the additional 10%. If you’re a Planet Fitness member but haven’t yet signed up as a Dis-Chem Benefit member, then simply sign up for your card in store or via the Dis-Chem app and start shopping. You can get your favourite supplements online or collect your card and shop in store. For more information, visit www.dischem.co.za.
NEW IN STORE
NEW IN STORE
Raw Sport Energize
33% more protein per serving
New from Youthful Living Performance BCAAs
These adaptogen-powered BCAAs are formulated to reduce cortisol levels, assist with fat burning and muscle building, and deliver an energy boost while training. This dynamic blend contains a 2:1:1 ratio of fermented BCAAs, as well as other energising ingredients that are perfect to use as a preor intra-workout supplement. This vegan-friendly product is available in Tropical Punch and Sour Gummies flavours.
Youthful Living launch improved Protein Truffles
Based on the demand for Youthful Living’s popular protein truffles, the company has updated the product formula to deliver an improved, even more decadent taste. Thanks to this innovative approach, this delicious guilt-free snack now contains a mere 0.6g of sugar and just 116 calories, but packs in 33% more protein per serving. Available in White Chocolate and Dark Chocolate flavours. 22 Dis-Chem Living Fit
This natural pre-workout supplement uses natural, organicallygrown ingredients to optimise energy levels and maintain hydration throughout the toughest workouts. This synergistic blend is formulated to provide 80mg of natural caffeine per serving, which has proven benefits for improved performance and endurance during exercise. Enhance your workouts with a natural blend of coconut water powder with Montgomery Cherry powder and Guarana or grade-A Matcha Powder and freezedried lemon. Available at selected Dis-Chem Pharmacies
WIN WIN WIN!
WIN A YEAR’S WORTH OF PROTEIN
YOU CAN WIN A YEAR’S SUPPLY OF RAW SPORT PLANT BASED PROTEIN! Simply share (and tag/ mention @rawsport_sa) with your favourite plant based protein recipe. For entry details, check out page 43. #PlantBasedJustFeelsBetter
RUN RIDE SWIM LIFT NISSAN TRAILSEEKER SERIES This family-friendly event caters for all levels of skill and fitness. Riders can choose between 10km, 20km, 40km, 70km and 90km routes on offer. The addition of a trail run series on the Sunday makes it a great weekend away for families who want to enjoy the outdoors. The 2020 series is all about exploring our magnificent country and the beauty the outdoors has to offer.
MTB: 23 May Trail Run: 24 May 2020 Venue: Legends MX Trail Park, Pretoria
LAST MAN STANDING
SEE MORE EVENTS
This multi-day, paired mountain bike stage race is more than just a ride as it also benefits the local schools and charities along the route. A highlight on the local mountain biking calendar, the event continually attracts local and international competitors. While it is one of the oldest mountain bike stage races in South Africa, the KAP sani2c remains one of the largest, with more than 4000 riders enjoying three days of flowing trails from Glencairn Farm, Himeville in the southern Drakensberg down to Scottburgh on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast. Over 5 days, three separate versions of the event take place: Sani2c Trail 12-14 May
MTB: 27 June Trail run: 28 June 2020 Venue: Buffelsdrift, Pretoria
Sani2c Adventure 13-15 May
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17-19 April This premier functional fitness competition brand boasts communitybased participation for every athlete. Last Man Standing has expanded to include four events consisting of both team and individual divisions, hosted across three provinces. The first event takes place at Marks Park in Emmarentia, Johannesburg.
Sani2c Race 14-16 May
HEINEKEN 0.0 IMPI CHALLENGE The Impi Challenge is a muddy trail run suitable for all athletic abilities. Experience exhilarating obstacles, mud, music and an amazing festival area.
EVENT #1: STELLENBOSCH 23 May Taking place at Coetzenburg, Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, competitors can push their limits while challenging themselves and their friends to a fun adventure on an obstacle trail run over 5km or 10-12km. www.impichallenge.co.za
BIRCHWOOD HALF MARATHON 19 April Get those laces tied and running gear ready for the 10th Birchwood Half Marathon which, after a decade of growth and popularity, is set to pull out all the stops for the 2020 race. Sign up for the 5km, 10km or 21.1km races, which all start at the Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre in Boksburg. birchwoodhalfmarathon.com
11 April Cape Townâ€™s most prestigious race, the 58km Two Oceans Ultra Marathon takes athletes on a spectacular course around the Cape Peninsula on a route that is often voted as the most breathtaking in the world. The Ultra Marathon celebrates its 51st anniversary in 2020. The Half Marathon was added to the event in 1998 and attracts a sold-out field every year. It is a great event for runners who want to be part of the Two Oceans action, but arenâ€™t ready to tackle the Ultra. twooceansmarathon.org.za
CYCLE LAB MALUTI DOUBLE 90 PRESENTED BY BIOGEN
2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen captured by Marike Cronje
TWO OCEANS ULTRA & HALF MARATHONS
RECCE TRAIL MISSION
GRAVEL & GRAPE
The annual Gravel & Grape MTB stage race features three race options, all of which traverse the Breedekloof Wine Valley in the Western Cape. The two Extreme events are for hardcore mountain bikers and feature some of the gnarliest single-track in the country. The Adventure is a two-day mountain bike challenge that covers 65km of cycling over the two days and is both a solo and team event.
18 April The Maluti Double 90 is a team time trial over 180km. The event is limited to 120 teams, which can consist of up to 12 riders who have up to nine hours to complete the event. The time of the 6th rider across the finish line is taken as the official team time. Teams can enter one of three categories, namely Female, Mixed (minimum of 3 riders of the opposite sex in the first 6 finishers) or Open (any gender combination).
2 Day Adventure 9-10 May
3 Day Extreme 8-10 May 2 Day Extreme 9-10 May
8 & 9 May The Recce Race is an epic adventure that will take entrants to the boundaries of physical and mental toughness, while they enjoy the wonders of nature. This Special Forces-themed multi-sport event takes place in Dullstroom, Mpumalanga, offering six race options that combine differing distances of mountain biking and trail running. These include the Mini Recce, Civvy, Light Duty, Jammie, Mission and Rouleurs. The race routes pass through iconic and unique landscapes, including the Eastern Escarpment, the Helvetia, Lakenvlei, Kaapschehoop, Berlin, Elandshoogte and other plantations, forests, wetlands, the Kwena basin and the upper Crocodile and Lunsklip rivers with countless waterfalls, remote valleys, gorges and more. reccerace.co.za
WINELANDS ENCOUNTER 8-10 May
The Winelands Encounter showcases the beautiful riding terrain that links Franschhoek and Paarl with a 2-night stopover at the majestic Le Franschhoek Hotel. Starting at Boschendal Wine Estate, the focus for the 3-day race is to provide an event with the emphasis on affordable quality. Competitors in teams of two will compete in one of three different categories that include Men, Ladies and Mixed, facing stages of around 50km each day, with about 1,000m of climbing. winelandsencounter.co.za
RUN RIDE SWIM LIFT
WARRIOR EVENT #3: SHEFFIELD
16 May The Warrior Race is South Africa’s largest obstacle course race series. Warriors have to conquer a set number of obstacles based on their fitness levels, with three categories on offer – Rookie, Commando and Black Ops. A specificallydesigned obstacle course will be available for youngsters, as well as a Warrior Kids Zone under the supervision of child-minders. This is the first time Warrior will take place at the Seaton Estate near Sheffield beach in KwaZulu-Natal. The race is set against a backdrop of pristine beaches, unspoiled forest, rivers and estuaries. warrior.co.za
FNB MAGALIES MONSTER MTB CLASSIC & PLATINUM TRAIL RUN
17 May This popular 12km road run serves as the first of three events that make up the FNB ‘Run Your City Series’. The Cape Town race encourages runners of all ages and walks of life to celebrate the magnificent Mother City. The route will highlight iconic landmarks and boasts magnificent views while featuring lively performances from some of Cape Town’s leading performing arts groups. Every entrant gets an event performance t-shirt.
30 & 31 May These two premier off-road events take place at ATKV Buffelspoort on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Offering the perfect weekend breakaway for families, the MTB Classic and Platinum Trail Run represent the best off-road routes in the North West Province with a perfect balance between challenge and reward. Mountain bikers can choose from a 16km, 33km or 65km route, while trail runners can opt for a 8km, 12km or 24km race option. For an added challenge, you can sign up for both the mountain bike and trail run events.
FNB CAPE TOWN 12 ONERUN
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Image taken from: warrior.co.za
STANDARD BANK IRONMAN® 70.3 DURBAN
7 June The hugely popular Standard Bank Ironman® 70.3® Durban triathlon takes place along Durban’s Golden Mile, offering athletes ideal conditions with a fairly flat and fast course, a warm climate, fantastic local spectator support and a great venue at Suncoast, Durban. It is the perfect peak-season race for international athletes, and mid- to late-season race for South Africans. This race offers 40 qualifying slots for the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupõ, New Zealand. ironman.com/durban70.3
THE BEAST TRAIL RUN 7 June The Beast Trail Run is a 50km race over tough Table Mountain trails for the serious and fit trail runner. The Beast offers entrants spectacular scenery and challenging terrain within the Table Mountain National Park in one of the toughest ultra trail races in South Africa! beasttrailrun.co.za
13-15 June The 2020 Trans-Augrabies 3-day stage race will take riders through the majestic Green Kalahari, following the unique landscapes that make up the Augrabies Falls National Park, the legendary community of Riemvasmaak and the wild landscapes of Khamkirri. The routes cover more than 223km over several types of terrain and through varied weather conditions. The field is limited to 150 riders. transaugrabiesmtb.co.za
14 June It’s a “down run” in 2020 – the first of two consecutive down runs to commemorate the race’s centenary. Runners will start outside City Hall in Pietermaritzburg and finish inside the iconic Moses Mabhida stadium after completing the approximately 91km course. Entrants will have 12 hours to cross the line to secure their finisher’s medal. It is the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon race and remains one of the toughest road races on the planet. comrades.com
BODYBUILDING AND BIKINI COMPETITIONS IFBB SA/BBSA April 11 Puma Classic 18 Millennium Gold Plate
May 15-17 Arnold Classic Africa ifbbsa.co.za
IFBB PRO LEAGUE/NPC WORLDWIDE
May 30 NPC Worldwide Muscle Mulisha Grand Prix V Regional Qualifier June 27 NPC Worldwide iCandy Classic Jozi champagneproductions. co.za
April 4 IBFF Glenhavie Development Show May 10 IBFF Soweto Development Show 30 IBFF Pro Divas ibffafrica.co.za
237 $237 million
A RECENT STUDY PUBLISHED IN THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION SUGGESTS THAT A DIET THAT INCLUDES MORE PLANT FOODS THAN ANIMAL FOODS COULD ADD YEARS TO YOUR LIFE AND LOWER CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE RISK. AMONG THE 12,000 STUDY PARTICIPANTS MONITORED BETWEEN 1987 TO 2016, THOSE WHO FOLLOWED A WELL-BALANCED PLANTHEAVY DIET HAD A:
lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
thatâ€™s how much revenue behavioural change weight-loss app Noom generated in 2019. The app has been downloaded 50 million times since launching in 2016.
lower risk of dying of cardiovascular disease.
lower risk of premature death from any cause.
Trending AS THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE FOODS WE EAT IS LARGELY INVISIBLE, MANUFACTURERS ARE STARTING TO CATER TO ENVIRONMENTALLY-CONSCIOUS CONSUMERS BY POSTING CO2 EMISSION INFO ON PRODUCT LABELS. FAKE-MEAT PRODUCER QUORN IS LEADING THE TREND, BECOMING THE FIRST MANUFACTURER TO PUBLISH ITS CO2 FOOTPRINT ON 30 PRODUCTS IN 2020.
THE TOP DIET-RELATED SEARCH IN 2019 ACCORDING TO GOOGLE’S ANNUAL YEAR IN SEARCH REPORT WAS:
ESTYLE “KEEP YOUR VITALITY. A LIFE WITHOUT HEALTH IS LIKE A RIVER WITHOUT WATER.” - MAXIME LAGACÉ
in this section RECIPES
Meals made easy...30
What your HR tells you...36
Plant power smoothies...40
Society’s obesity issue...48
NUTRIENT PUNCH QUINOA BOWLS
Meals made easy... We love quinoa bowls. In fact, all ‘nourish’ or ‘Buddha’ bowls are great on-trend meal options, but there’s something extra satisfying about building a flavoursome delight on a base of warm and fluffy quinoa. The mighty quinoa grain (we actually buy and eat the seeds) is packed with nutrients, providing a terrific source of plant-based protein, with all nine essential amino acids (it’s one of the few complete plant proteins). You’ll also get a dose of B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin E, insoluble fibre, magnesium, riboflavin and phytonutrients. And it’s gluten free, which makes it an ideal base ingredient for those who suffer from Celiac disease, gluten intolerance or those on a gluten-free diet.
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These dishes are so versatile because you can mix in just about any combination of wholesome and nutritious ingredients for a satiating meal, whether they’re leftovers or freshly made. And there are no strict guidelines regarding the proteins,
vegetables, fruits, grains and dressings that you use. Let your preferences and your palate guide you! They’re also convenient, ideal for a breakfast, lunch or dinner. Ideally, your quinoa bowl should be colourful, filled with veggies (think raw, sautéed or roasted), extra proteins like legumes, tofu or meat, and greens, nuts and seeds. A hearty dressing or topping can finish it all off superbly.
Food is essential to life, therefore make it good
Quinoa prep masterclass One cup of dry quinoa typically yields about 3 cups of cooked quinoa. For lunch or dinner recipes, follow these steps:
Step 1: Cook your quinoa
in a pot of salt-seasoned water at a rolling boil. Keep checking and stirring until done, which is when the quinoa is tender. Step 2: Drain it using a fine mesh strainer, before fluffing it with a fork.
Step 3: Allow it to stand for a while to soak up more water if you plan to serve it warm, otherwise spread it out to avoid clumping.
You can also cook quinoa in milks such as almond or dairy for greater variety in taste and flavour profiles for your breakfast bowls.
SEED BOWL Ingredients
½ cup quinoa, rinsed 1 tbsp sunflower seeds 1 tbsp sesame seeds 1 tbsp pine nuts Spinach leaves, fresh ½ avocado 1 Kiwi fruit, sliced Squeeze of fresh lemon
A 100g avo serving
How to make it Cook the quinoa as directed. Add it to your bowl. Slice the avocado and break up the spinach leaves. Toss the remaining ingredients together and serve.
2g Protein | 8g Carbs | 15g Fat
MANGO DELIGHT BOWL Ingredients
½ cup quinoa, rinsed 1 tbsp almonds ½ mango Mint leaves 2 tbsp olives ½ red onion, sliced
How to make it Cook the quinoa as directed. Add it to your bowl. Cut the mango into chunks as per your preference. Cut the red onion into fine julienne strips. Add the remaining ingredients to your quinoa and serve.
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Did you know:
More fresh mangoes are eaten around the world every day than just about any other fruit.
lifestyle ROASTED BOWL Ingredients
½ cup quinoa, rinsed 400g chickpeas 700g pumpkin Baby spinach Baby tomatoes ½ avocado Mixed seeds
How to make it Peel and deseed the pumpkin and cut into small cubes. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine oil and cinnamon in a bowl. Add pumpkin and chickpeas and toss to coat. Transfer to tray. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Cook the quinoa as directed and add it to your bowl. Slice the baby tomatoes into halves and the avocado into slices. Combine the pumpkin and chickpeas with the quinoa. Top with the spinach, tomatoes, avo and mixed seeds and serve.
BUTTERNUT, POMEGRANATE AND KALE QUINOA SALAD BOWL
A 100g butternut serving 1g Protein | 11g Carbs | 0.1g Fat
1 cup quinoa, rinsed 2 tbsp olive oil 1 small butternut squash, cubed ¾ cup pomegranate seeds 2 cups chopped kale leaves ¼ cup pumpkin seeds Pinch of salt and pepper
How to make it Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Mix diced squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast squash for 30 minutes or until soft and tender. Cook the quinoa as directed. Place kale in a large bowl and pour on olive oil. Add cooked quinoa, squash, pomegranate seeds and dried cranberries and all other ingredients. Place the salad in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to come together. LF
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Lifestyle Food Quinoa
Nature’s Choice Quinoa
Health Connection Quinoa Organic Gluten Free
MAKING HEALTHY LIVING EASIER
Exclusively available at
The Lifestyle Food Extra Virgin Olive Oil is cold pressed in the heart of Spain to produce a medium fruit intensity with peppery notes. For use in everyday cooking, and for dressing salads and vegetables.
KEEP A FINGER ON THE PULSE OF YOUR HEALTH
id you know that ‘listening’ to your heart can give you a deeper understanding of what’s going on inside your body? If you learn to understand the signs and signals it sends, that is.
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Thankfully, you don’t literally have to keep your finger on your pulse to gain these insights. There are various wearable fitness devices, activity trackers and sportswatches available at DisChem that use wrist-based heart rate (HR) monitors to measure and track our pulse throughout the day.
This information is transmitted back to a companion app on your smartphone or a web-based platform when synced, offering insights about your level of exertion and intensity during exercise and your general fitness levels.
A WINDOW ON YOUR HEALTH
But your heart rate can also reveal a great deal more about you, other than how fit you are or how hard you exercised, by providing clues regarding your health, if you’re getting sick and how well you’re recovering.
The key HR indicators that you should pay attention to include: Resting heart rate Recovery heart rate Heart rate variability Threshold heart rate Heart rate reserve
Resting heart rate
Numerous studies have found that your resting (RHR) is a good indicator of your basic fitness level and cardiovascular health. A strong and healthy heart is more efficient at pumping blood throughout the body, requiring fewer beats per minute to meet the body’s requirements. That means a lower resting HR is generally better. However, a very low resting HR can also signal underlying health issues. Someone who isn’t very active and has a resting HR below 50 beats per minute (bpm) may be diagnosed with bradycardia, which is often associated with medical
conditions such as hypothyroidism. On the other hand, a high resting HR may indicate that you’re suffering from cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or hypertension (high blood pressure). A high resting HR can also be an early sign of an infection or illness or rising stress levels. Smoking, stimulants like thermogenic fat burners or caffeine, cold medications or excess weight can also elevate your resting HR. A chronically-elevated resting HR could also indicate that you are overtrained and that you need more rest and recovery time. And it’s when your resting HR remains elevated for extended periods that you need to start worrying and seek medical advice. People who have a chronically elevated RHR of more than 100 bpm are classified as tachycardic. (Tachycardia is a condition that makes your heart beat more than 100 times per minute)
Conditions when tachycardia may occur include: Pregnancy Emotional conditions such as anxiety or stress Fever Anemia Hypoxia Hyperthyroidism Hyper-secretion of catecholamines Cardiomyopathy Valvular heart diseases Acute Radiation Syndrome
HOW TO MEASURE RESTING HEART RATE:
Your resting HR is ideally measured first thing in the morning as soon as you wake up (an activity tracker or sportswatch worn throughout the night will do this automatically). You can also get a rough indication of your resting HR by lying down for 5-10 minutes and then taking your heart rate. The best way to determine your resting HR is to measure your heart rate on three consecutive mornings and take the average.
Recovery heart rate
Other heart rate-related factors to watch out for include your recovery heart rate – the length of time it takes your heart rate to drop after an exercise session ends. If your heart rate doesn’t drop at least 12 beats in the first minute after exercise – known as the resting plateau – or if your heart rate exceeds 120 bpm after five minutes or 100 bpm after 10 minutes then it may indicate issues such as overtraining, illness or a cardiovascular condition. Your heart rate should also return to resting levels in about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on your exercise session’s duration and intensity. Hitting or bettering these values is a good measure of how efficiently your body is able to recover and indicates a better-conditioned and healthy heart. Athletes will often use their recovery heart rate to measure progress, or to identify other potential problems such as overheating or dehydration. Lifestyle 37
DID YOU KNOW
Your max HR also decreases slightly as you age â€“ about seven beats per minute every decade.
Average RHR values:
Average healthy person: 60-80 bpm Athletes and extremely fit individuals: 35-50 bpm Bradycardia: Less than 60 bpm Tachycardia: 100 bpm+
Normal heart rate recovery:
15-25 bpm in 1 minute after ending an exercise session.
The table below shows the different heart-rate zones and their benefits expressed as a percentage of your max HR:
Intensity Level (MHR%)
Basic heart health maintenance
50% - 60%
Increase stamina and endurance, burn calories
60% - 70%
Base - aerobic
Burn fat and enjoy heart health benefits
70% - 80%
Fitness conditioning, muscle building and athletic training
Athletic - elite
Athletic training and endurance
Most wearable devices let you pre-programme your zones and will alert you when you are below or above that intensity level, which makes it easier to maintain the correct exercise intensity. 38 Dis-Chem Living Fit
80% - 90% 90% - 100% You can roughly calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.
Threshold heart rates Heart rate variability
Heart rate variability (HRV) indicates the variation in your heart rate during a specific timeframe. In the clinical context, HRV refers to the variation among the intervals between individual heartbeats, which is a useful indicator of several heart-related health issues. However, it can also refer to differences in your heart rate during exercise and throughout the day. In both instances, greater variability indicates a healthier heart and a cardiovascular system that is functioning optimally. That means you ideally want to see lots of sharp peaks and deep troughs in your HR graph when reviewing your exercise sessions on your app, as well as a rapid return to resting levels after you’ve finished.
Our hearts also have limits. Normally referred as thresholds, these heart rates indicate your effort level and, based on your fitness, how long your body can conceivably sustain it. Our maximum heart rate is the uppermost limit. It is extremely difficult to reach this limit when exercising, even for only a brief time. Your max HR also decreases slightly as you age – about seven beats per minute every decade. While athletes and
highly active individuals may have a slightly higher max HR as they started from a higher base, regular exercise does nothing to slow the age-related decline.
The thresholds below this value – usually expressed as a percentage of your max HR – generally indicate the energy system your body is using to fuel your efforts. The specific heart rate zones within which athletes generally train typically correspond with the specific exercise goal or energy system they aim to train.
Heart rate reserve
This is the difference between your measured or predicted max HR and your resting HR. It is a good indicator of your potential work capacity. As you increase your cardiovascular fitness, your resting HR will decrease, which means your HR reserve will increase. This effectively means that you have a greater range of potential training heart rate intensities to work through. Your training will also push out your threshold values, which means you can sustain harder efforts for longer. This is why some exercise tracking methods measure intensity as a percentage of your HR reserve rather than just percentages of max HR. Others allocate zones as a percentage of your lactate threshold. Armed with this knowledge, you can now use the information at your fingertips to really “listen” to your body and assess your fitness levels or possibly identify any health issues. LF Lifestyle 39
PLANT POWER SMOOTHIES
ED APPROV BLENDING NUTRIENT-PACKED ROOTS, FRUITS, FLOWERS AND LEAVES WITH SOME WHOLESOME PLANT-BASED PROTEIN AND A DAIRY-FREE MILK ALTERNATIVE IS A TASTY AND CONVENIENT WAY TO ELEVATE YOUR NUTRITIONAL STATUS AND BENEFIT YOUR HEALTH AND BODY.
Whether you’re full-on vegan, are lactose intolerant or simply want to reduce your animal protein intake to benefit your health or the environment, these ‘green’ smoothie options offer a wholesome alternative to conventional recipes. Try them out and see if you can taste the difference.
Smooth out those hunger pangs. Smoothies are an ideal option for a satisfying breakfast, or as a midafternoon pick-me-up to keep you going until dinner.
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Almond butter is rich in healthy fats, manganese, calcium and magnesium.
Hemp seeds Adds in extra healthy fats in the form of omega-3s, along with added protein, fibre and a host of other nutrients.
GREEN BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE
Got a sweet tooth?
Add 6-10 green grapes for some additional natural sweetness.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in various vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. They’re also energy dense and a great source of plant protein.
½ cup rolled oats 1 scoop plant protein, vanilla flavour 1 orange, peeled and quartered 1 tsp pumpkin seeds 1 tsp hemp seeds ½ ripe avocado 2 bananas, 1 frozen 3 tbsp almond butter 2 cups baby spinach 1½ cups unsweetened soy, nut or rice milk
How to make it Add the rolled oats to a blender and blend until ground. Chop your bananas into pieces for easier blending. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Add more milk to thin it out, or add ice cubes to thicken it.
PLANT POWER SMOOTHIES LEAFY GREENS SMOOTHIE Ingredients
2 tsp spirulina powder 1 cup spinach 1 cup kale 1 scoop plant protein powder ¼ cup hemp seeds 2 tbsp ground flaxseed 1 cup frozen pineapple pieces 2 bananas, 1 frozen 2 cups coconut water 2 tbsp coconut yoghurt
Spirulina powder is a concentrated form of this potent superfood. It contains various nutrients including B vitamins, various antioxidants, and 4g of quality protein per tablespoon.
How to make it Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until desired consistency is achieved. Pour and enjoy.
BERRY BLIZZARD SMOOTHIE Ingredients
½ cup frozen blueberries ½ cup frozen strawberries ½ cup frozen raspberries 1 banana, frozen 3 tbsp rolled oats 1 cup almond milk 1 serving pea protein powder ½ cup ice cubes
How to make it Add the rolled oats to a blender and blend until ground. Chop your bananas into pieces for easier blending. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and blend until desired consistency is achieved. Add more milk to thin it out, or add ice cubes to thicken it.
A berry smorgasbord can boost your smoothie’s nutrient profile because these fruits are typically high in fibre, vitamin C and potent antioxidants known as polyphenols LF RECOMMENDS
RAW Sport Plant Protein
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Optimum Nutrition 100% Plant
Organic Life Pea Protein
Biogen Plant Based protein
Lifestyle Food Almond Butter
YOUR CHEAT CHOCOLATE SMOOTHIE Ingredients
1 tbsp cocoa powder 1 tbsp natural peanut butter 1 banana 1 cup almond milk 1 serving plant-based protein, chocolate flavour 1 pitted medjool date ½ tsp cinnamon 1 tsp hemp seeds 1 tsp cacao nibs
Cacao powder contains beneficial flavonoids,
which act as powerful antioxidants. It is also a rich source of calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur and EFAs.
WIN A YEAR’S WORTH OF PROTEIN
TO ENTER. 1. Post a photo of your favourite plant-based smoothie, and tag @rawsport_sa and @dischem_livingfit on Instagram! Don’t forget to use #PlantBasedJustFeelsBetter 2. Tag 2 friends you think would love the recipe / post. 3. To qualify, you need to follow @rawsport_sa on Instagram.
How to make it Add all the ingredients, except hemp seeds and cacao nibs, to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and sprinkle with cacao nibs and hemp seeds for some crunch. LF
Cinnamon contains active compounds that are
said to improve blood sugar regulation, and has antimicrobial and antiinflammatory properties.
One tag = One entry. Share posts to your stories or feed with @rawsport_sa tagged, and spread the plant-based love. One year’s supply of Raw Sport Plant Protein = 1 KG bag per month, for 12 months. (29 servings per bag) *Competition runs from 20 March to 24 April 2020. *Winner announced 30 April 2020. *T’c and C’s apply. www.livingfit.co.za
“I’ve lost 80kg and my body fat percentage went from 62% to 26%, which was a big win for me! While I still have more to lose, I feel amazing and I am much more comfortable in my own body.”
CHARISSA IS HALF THE PERSON SHE USED TO BE
hen Charissa Jacobs started her transformation journey, she weighed 163kg. Today, 28 months later, she has lost a staggering 80kg with help from Herbex’s Fat Burn range.
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Weight takes its toll
“Before I decided to give Herbex a try, I was always tired, suffered from constant migraines and my blood pressure was dangerously high at 220 over 170.” Performing seemingly ordinary everyday tasks were also challenging for Charissa due to her weight.
“I hated shopping. Not only could I never find any outfits I liked, but I couldn’t walk for more than five minutes without stopping to catch my breath. And I hated that people would stare at me for being so overweight.”
The exertion and effort it took to walk around also took its toll on her body. “My back would be so sore the next day that I couldn’t walk or move, and I would get the worst migraine.” Charissa knew she needed to find a solution, but was unsure where to start until she saw a Herbex advert while watching TV with her husband. “He said, let’s try it.”
The Herbex solution
She went out and bought her first Herbex products – the Booster Fat Burn Drops, Fat Burn Tabs and Fat Burn Concentrate from the Herbex Fat Burn range. Charissa used the Booster Fat Burn drops 15 minutes before
80KG! 25ml of the Fat Burn Concentrate added to 1l of water throughout the day goes a long way.
AFTER meals, adding 45 drops to a glass of water, twice a day. After meals she took 1 Fat Burn tablet, twice a day, and she drank 25ml of the Fat Burn Concentrate added to 1l of water throughout the day. “The tropical flavour is my favourite,” shares Charissa.
my favorite workout routine.” Charissa also performs CHARISSA’S 200 swings with a 16kg kettlebell in the mornings. STARTER And the combination of her STACK: exercise regimen, new diet and supplement plan have yielded amazing results. “I’ve lost 80kg and my body fat percentage went from 62% to 26%, which was a big win for me! While I still have more Herbex Booster to lose, I feel amazing and I am Persistence Fat Burn much more comfortable in my Drops pays off own body.” She slowly started Her body shape has also to lose weight and her changed. “I’m most proud of energy increased. As a my breasts – they are so much consequence, her walks smaller! I dropped from a 48G to got progressively longer a 34 full C. I’ve also lost most of Herbex Fat and then she started my tummy fat and my double chin Burn Tabs following the beginner’s is almost gone! I’m even starting workout provided by to see muscles that I’ve never Herbex. seen before!” “I can now jog for Charissa adds that her skin also 5km, and I do a full-body looks so much better from all the weightlifting workout in water she drinks during the day the afternoons, five days a and all the sweating she does Herbex Fat week – I love leg day! It’s during her workouts. Burn Concentrate
But these positive changes also run more than skin deep. Charissa admits that she is now more confident and is willing to stand up for herself these days.
“I don’t let people walk all over me anymore. And I can actually look people in the eye and offer them a real smile, not a fake one that merely masks my depression and selfloathing.” She also loves sleeping now, because when she was overweight and unhealthy she only slept for three hours a night. And her marriage has benefited, too.
Being trapped in that big body for 14 years was hell! The battle continues
Charissa says that she still grapples with cravings for fattening foods, but she sticks to her plan by reminding herself that she never again wants to look or feel the way she did. She also receives immense support from her parents, who have stood by her every step of the way. “And whenever I post pictures of my weight loss on Facebook, the rest of my family comments on how proud they are of me. It’s extremely motivating.” In addition, Charissa has found the ideal balance with her diet, eating three meals a day with two snacks, according to the Herbex 10-day meal plan, which she tweaks to suit her new lifestyle and meet her unique needs.
Starting body fat %:
Current body fat %:
WISE WORDS: Take that leap of faith, trust that you can do it and “Being trapped in that watch the big body for 14 years was results come hell! I took a chance on your way.
“My husband is my number one supporter. He is very proud of me and motivates me all the time. My new-found energy and body helped us to rekindle our love for each other.” That extra energy also means Charissa can now keep up with her two kids. “It is wonderful to spend more time with them, running around outside.” 46 Dis-Chem Living Fit
Herbex and won! I am so thankful that Herbex helped me regain my life. Starting my Herbex journey was the best thing I could ever do for me!” LF
CHARISSA BELIEVES THAT DOCUMENTING AND SHARING HER JOURNEY WILL HELP OTHERS TAKE THE SAME LEAP OF FAITH. GO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!
ASK THE PROS
Could portion sizes be the main cause driving society’s obesity issue? Steve via Facebook
The standard sizes of plates and glasses have increased.
ou’re quite correct. Numerous studies affirm the link between the world’s obesity pandemic and modern society’s overconsumption of calories, which is largely attributed to a rise in portion sizes over the past few decades. We live in an era of food abundance. At any stage in our day we’re no more than a few steps from a fridge or a short drive away from the nearest convenience store. And the meals and food items we buy at these stores are also bigger than ever before. Food manufacturers, fast food chains and restaurants have driven this ‘super-sized’ culture as modern consumers equate value with bigger meal sizes.
CLIMBING CALORIE COUNTS
The combination of these factors means people in modern society no longer know what constitutes a healthful, calorie-controlled portion. We’re also notoriously bad at estimating the calorie content of meals, as demonstrated in numerous studies. Registered dietitian and author Gabi Steenkamp explains that additional factors compounding the issue include: 48 Dis-Chem Living Fit
The more glucose we dump into our bodies, and the frequency of these ‘dumps’, will have a material impact on how much of the food we eat gets stored as fat rather than burnt for fuel.
Modern cultural norms dictate that an abundance of food, particularly at social gatherings, is generally considered a sign of generosity. We also equate food with sharing, friendship and celebration thanks to the abundance of food available since the dawn of the agricultural age. The health halo effect means people feel that they can consume more food when it is a healthier option. While it may be healthier, an excess intake of calories will still result in weight gain. Manufactured and fast foods, which are generally less nutrient dense, are generally calorie-dense and are also becoming cheaper than natural whole foods.
TAKING BACK CONTROL Steenkamp believes we can eat most foods if consumed in moderation, in the correct amount and when combined with the right foods.
“The key elements here are moderation and balance, but these are concepts that modern society seems to have lost their grasp on.”
1 gram of protein = 4 kCal = 17 kJ
The potential energy of a food source can be calculated with the following formula:
1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 kCal = 17 kJ
Another consideration is the concept of balance. Many believe that every meal should consist of a ‘balanced’ plate, with the correct vegetable, protein, carb, and fat portions. However, including every food group at every meal is an
1 gram of fat = 9.3 kCal = 37 kJ
outdated concept, and can be counterproductive because it completely ignores the insulin response to meals. When we eat carbs, we increase insulin levels, which works to remove glucose from the blood by either pulling glucose into muscle cells or the liver, where it’s stored as glycogen, or into fat cells where it can promote fat storage.
6 WAYS TO TAKE BACK CONTROL: Focus less on the 1 g/kg measurements
of your macronutrient intake and the correct ratios. Relying on the visual queues is generally an easier concept to grasp for many. of your plate 2 orHalf half the volume
of a meal should consist of colourful whole foods from mother nature. The more colourful the meal the more nutritious it is. The starch or 3 carbohydrate portion of a meal shouldn’t be bigger than the fist of your hand.
protein portion 4 ofThe a meal shouldn’t
be bigger than the palm of your hand. Note that the size of your palm and fist is relative to your own size, so portion sizes will differ from person to person. You should aim to 5 eat 5-10 servings of
fruit and veg a day - five is the minimum, yet most people struggle to achieve this each day.
one fat source 6 toAdd every meal.
Saturated fat should not be more than a third of your total daily fat intake, but don’t avoid it. Lifestyle 49
RESTORING HORMONAL BALANCE
The more glucose we dump into our bodies, and the frequency of these ‘dumps’, will have a material impact on how much of the food we eat gets stored as fat rather than burnt for fuel, as it can ‘shut off’ the effects of other hormones that promote the metabolism of fat for energy. That’s right - in the presence of insulin, the body preferentially stores what we eat, be it glucose, amino acids from protein or fatty acids. Consequently, if you constantly spike glucose by including carbs in every meal, you’ll get a dosedependant rise in insulin, which is more pronounced when we eat high glycaemic index (GI) carbs in the form of processed and refined carbs and sugar. Over time, consuming carbohydrates in excess, particularly the refined and processed varieties and sugar, blunts insulin receptor sensitivity in our muscles and liver. This eventually leads to insulin resistance, where more and more insulin is needed to elicit the required response. This can eventually overwhelm this system and lead to type-2 diabetes as the body is no longer able to selfregulate blood glucose. 50 Dis-Chem Living Fit
Thankfully, to restore hormonal balance and aid your weight-loss efforts, you don’t have to cut your carb portions completely. Simply reducing the number of meals that contain carbs each day, reducing your refined carb and sugar intake and eating most, if not all, of your carbs around your training sessions can help to reduce the amount of fat you store. This dietary approach can also promote greater fat loss as your body is more likely to tap into fat reserves during the day for the energy it needs. That’s why the concept of nutrient timing should go hand in hand with portion control, especially when improved health and weight loss are your main aims.
QUALITY IS ALSO KEY In the context of balanced eating and portion control, you should also give special consideration to the source and quality of your macronutrients. Your protein portions should ideally consist of quality meats, plant proteins and supplements. Your dominant fat sources should come from natural sources, with up to 10% of your intake from saturated fat, with the remainder comprised of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Avoid processed and manufactured fats and trans fats whenever possible. And your carbohydrate portions should ideally come from fibrous carbs in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables, with as little processed carbs and simple sugars in your eating plan as possible, if at all.
Steenkamp also suggests that you keep an eye on the serving sizes of common snack foods, including nutritional bars.
“You need to check the energy content of each bar – the kilojoules (kJ) it delivers – as well as the sugar content. Aim to buy bars that deliver no more than 500kJ per serving.”
If it contains more calories than required, break it in half and keep the rest for the next scheduled snack, or share it. Steenkamp also offers some practical advice for those visits to a restaurant: Reduce your meal to the appropriate portion sizes then take the rest home in a doggy bag. If you decide to eat something like pizza, don’t eat the whole thing. The recommended portion size is two slices of a standard large pizza. Eat a salad first as a starter to satiate you before your main meal. This will help to quell the feeling of hunger that being around all that food elicits. LF
THAT’S HOW MUCH CERTAIN HEALTHY HABITS CAN ADD TO A WOMAN’S LIFE EXPECTANCY (12 YEARS FOR MEN), ACCORDING TO RESEARCH
Smart predictions YOUR FITBIT IS HELPING SCIENTISTS PREDICT FLU OUTBREAKS. RESEARCHERS AT THE SCRIPPS RESEARCH TRANSLATIONAL INSTITUTE REVIEWED DE-IDENTIFIED FITBIT USER DATA AND WERE ABLE TO PERFORM REAL-TIME FLU PREDICTIONS AT A REGIONAL LEVEL.
OUT OF HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH. THE FIVE HEALTHY HABITS THAT COULD EXTEND LIFE EXPECTANCY INCLUDE:
EATING A PREDOMINANTLY PLANTBASED DIET THAT IS ALSO LOW IN FATS. EXERCISING AT A MODERATE TO VIGOROUS LEVEL FOR SEVERAL HOURS A WEEK. MAINTAINING A HEALTHY BODY WEIGHT. NOT SMOKING. CONSUMING NO MORE THAN ONE ALCOHOLIC DRINK A DAY FOR WOMEN AND TWO FOR MEN.
OVERWEIGHT ADULTS GLOBALLY ACCORDING TO DATA FROM WORLDOMETER, THERE ARE MORE THAN 1 BILLION OVERWEIGHT ADULTS GLOBALLY, WITH AT LEAST 300 MILLION WHO ARE CLINICALLY OBESE.
“A MAN TOO BUSY TO TAKE CARE OF HIS HEALTH IS LIKE A MECHANIC TOO BUSY TO TAKE CARE OF HIS TOOLS.”
in this section YOUR HEALTH
Vitamin D ...54
Tips to stay ahead of common health issues...56
Vitamin D Brighten up your health (and performance) with vitamin D VITAMIN D. IT’S CALLED THE ‘SUNSHINE VITAMIN’ BECAUSE OUR BODIES CAN PRODUCE IT WHEN EXPOSED TO THE SUN’S UVB RAYS. – IF THAT’S THE CASE, THEN SURELY WE DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT A DEFICIENCY? While that may have been true in the past, vitamin D deficiency is a growing health concern worldwide.
Shedding light on low vitamin D levels
Factors such as broad-spectrum sunscreens that block all UV rays, and lower dietary intakes, means more people produce insufficient amounts of this important vitamin. Those who shun the sun, omit dairy from their diets due to a milk
allergy or lactose intolerance, or adhere to a strict vegan diet may be at the greatest risk for a deficiency, in which case fortified foods and supplements may be necessary.
More than just strong bones
Most of us already know the important role vitamin D plays in bone health – it regulates calcium absorption, so a deficiency is linked to decreased bone strength and density, and can cause rickets. However, its traditional classification as a bone-building nutrient means many people pay little attention to vitamin D, at least until their later years. Now, a growing body of research reveals numerous other health benefits associated with adequate vitamin D levels.
STUDIES HAVE ALSO LINKED INSUFFICIENT LEVELS OF VITAMIN D IN FEMALES TO HIGHER BODY FAT, DEPRESSION AND ADVERSE PREGNANCY OUTCOMES 54 Dis-Chem Living Fit
These include reduced risks of heart disease and diabetes, and it could potentially lower our risk of respiratory diseases and chronic noncommunicable diseases in adulthood. Studies have also linked insufficient levels of vitamin D in females to higher body fat, depression and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Specifically, low vitamin D levels during pregnancy may increase the risk of ADHD in your child, according to a Finnish study published in The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. A 2018 study by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine also suggests that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with a decrease in breast cancer risk. Additionally, vitamin D regulates the expression of more than 200 human genes. These insights and the fact that cells in most tissues contain a vitamin D receptor suggests that this vitamin has diverse roles in maintaining optimal human health and development.
Boosting your intake
A vital immunity booster Vitamin D’s role in the body’s immune response helps to reduce levels of inflammatory proteins called cytokines. It also increases antimicrobial proteins that destroy invading germs and viruses, which form part of our adaptive immune system. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that vitamin D plays an important role in our innate immunity – the immediate, nonspecific immune defence system. More generally, vitamin D has been linked to a decrease in both a person’s susceptibility to and the duration of common infections, including the flu. This is backed by numerous studies, which tend to show that people who have lower vitamin D levels are more likely to get the flu, and also tended to suffer with the infection for longer (nine days versus just two in those with higher vitamin D levels, according to one study).
Vitamin D’s performance benefits But it’s not just our general health where vitamin D delivers benefits. It also
helps to regulate fat metabolism, which can assist with weight loss and body composition.
It is also crucial for optimal muscle function and post-workout recovery as it decreases inflammation. You could also gain an endurance boost due to vitamin D’s role in aerobic energy production. A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology showed that an increase in vitamin D was associated with a higher VO2 max, which is a physiological measure directly linked to endurance performance. Based on its many roles and functions, adequate vitamin D levels are clearly more important than many of us realise.
Biogen Vitamin D3
Solal Vitamin D3
Reuterina Vitamin D Drops
Wellvita Vitamin D Caps
Other than direct sun exposure, which we should limit to short 10-15 minutes periods a few times a day to lower the risk of skin cancer, the best dietary vitamin D sources include egg yolks, beef liver and fatty fish such as tuna, herring, mackerel and salmon. Vitamin D is also found in supplements and various fortified dairy and cereal products in two different forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol), which both increase vitamin D in the blood. As vitamin D requirements are highly individualised, any recommended supplemental approaches should be determined in consultation with a qualified healthcare practitioner.
Tips to boost vitamin D levels:
Expose skin to the sun’s ultraviolet rays for a few minutes each day. Optimal durations vary depending on skin type. Get this ultraviolet exposure as near to solar noon as possible – generally between 10am and 2pm. Add more vitamin D-rich foods to your daily diet. Supplement with vitamin D2 or D3, if additional support is required. LF Health 55
ASK THE PROS I already lead an active and healthy lifestyle. What more can I do to stay ahead of infections and other common health issues? Stephanie via Instagram
ur bodies give off various tell-tale signals that could indicate an imbalance, deficiency or potential health issue within the body. Reading these signs and understanding what they could mean will enable you to take corrective measures before something minor potentially becomes a more serious condition that may require medical treatment. Watch out for these common signs, which could indicate a brewing health issue:
You wake up every morning at 3am
Waking up every morning at around 3am isn’t a coincidence, nor is it a body clock ‘quirk’. In fact, just because something is common doesn’t mean it’s normal. It should, therefore, raise a red flag. A possible reasons for this is adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands are important endocrine organs located atop the kidneys, and one of their roles is to produce the stress 56 Dis-Chem Living Fit
adrenal fatigue keeping you up at night? Chronic cortisol dysregulation can damage tissue such as muscle and bone, and may slow down healing and normal cell regeneration.
hormone cortisol. While this important hormone has been demonised due to its link to stress, we all need it to function optimally. Firstly, it mediates the sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. When adrenal function is normal, cortisol levels are highest in the morning to wake us up and gradually decline throughout the day, eventually reaching levels in the body that make us tired and ready for sleep at night. While it’s not the only hormone in this complex process, it’s certainly an important one. Cortisol also affects our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. When we’re overstressed, be it from work, life, environmental, dietary or exercise stress, our cortisol levels can remain elevated into the late afternoon and evening. This often makes it hard to fall asleep and, once we do we often tend to wake up in the early morning, at around 3am. Chronic cortisol dysregulation can damage tissue such as muscle and bone, and may slow down healing and normal cell regeneration. This condition can also interfere with healthy endocrine (hormone) system function, impair digestion, metabolism and mental function, and weaken your immune system. Adrenal fatigue is also associated with other health conditions, including fibromyalgia, Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome and arthritis.
Lethargy and brain fog
Are you struggling to get out of bed every morning, even after a long night of uninterrupted sleep? Are you forgetful, or do you struggle to concentrate during the day? You could have thyroid dysfunction. If left unchecked, undiagnosed or untreated, this condition can develop into hypothyroidism or, depending on the root cause, something as severe as Hashimoto’s disease.
Are you struggling to get out of bed every morning, even after a long night of uninterrupted sleep? Are you forgetful, or do you struggle to concentrate during the day? Hypothyroidism stems from an underactive thyroid due to a lack of insufficient stimulation or an imbalance along the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. This means the thyroid gland does not create enough of a thyroid hormone called thyroxine. While it is common among women, it can affect anyone. It is a condition often associated with adrenal fatigue and cortisol dysregulation, but has also been linked to other auto-immune diseases. Thyroiditis, which is an inflammation of the thyroid gland, can also result in suboptimal function. As thyroid hormones regulate energy metabolism, insufficient thyroxine may slow down many of the body’s functions. This can result in lethargy and brain fog, uncontrolled weight gain, cold intolerance, joint and muscle pain, dry skin, thin, brittle hair or fingernails, constipation, bradycardia (slow heart rate), high cholesterol or a puffy face, feet and hands.
Cracks at the corners of your mouth? No, it’s not because you’re using the wrong brand of lip balm. Those cracks are known as cheilitis and could indicate a B-vitamin deficiency, especially vitamin B12. This can increase your risk of illnesses such as anaemia. Any kind of nutritional deficiency, be it from a poor diet or excessive nutrient depletion from hard training, tends to first present in tissues that have the highest turnover rate, which include the tongue, lips and nails. Another tell-tale sign is dark circles under the eyes. B-vitamin deficiencies are closely linked with poor diets that are heavy in processed and refined foods, especially sugar, or high alcohol intakes as the body depletes essential vitamins and minerals trying to detox and rebalance. Endurance athletes are also prone to iron depletion and B-vitamin deficiencies due to the nutritional demands they place on their bodies during heavy training blocks, especially those nutrients needed to boost the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, such as iron and vitamin B12. A deficiency in either, or both, can also result in cheilitis.
Endurance athletes are also prone to iron depletion and B-vitamin deficiencies
If you’ve got one of those painful cracks forming, it’s worth getting an immediate boost of B vitamins (and possibly iron if you’re in a heavy training block) in supplemental form – a B-complex supplement is an ideal option – in addition to bolstering your intake from whole foods. LF Health 57
CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE HELPS CREATE NEW BRAIN CELLS. THIS ENHANCES BRAINPOWER AND BRAIN ACTIVITY.
Dress for success
A POLL OF 2,000 AMERICANS CONDUCTED BY ONEPOLL ON BEHALF OF TRUNK CLUB REVEALED THAT 92% OF RESPONDENTS WOULD BE MORE LIKELY TO HIT THE GYM IF THEY HAD ACTIVEWEAR THEY ACTUALLY LIKED, WHILE 69% CITED CONCERNS OVER BEING JUDGED FOR WHAT THEY WEAR AS A REASON TO SKIP WORKOUTS.
THAT’S HOW MUCH PARTICIPANTS IN A STUDY WERE ABLE TO ADD TO THEIR BENCH PRESS ONE-REP MAX AFTER SUPPLEMENTING WITH CREATINE MONOHYDRATE. *Findings published in the journal Acta Physiologica Scandinavica.
A CLEAR PLAN IS YOUR SECRET WEAPON
GYM HAVING A PLAN OF ACTION BEFORE YOU SET FOOT IN THE GYM CAN HELP YOU AVOID WANDERING AIMLESSLY AROUND WHILE YOU DECIDE WHAT TO DO NEXT.
“PAIN IS TEMPORARY. QUITTING LASTS FOREVER.”
in this section WORKOUT
Six pack guide...90
WARRIOR YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A CROSSFITTER TO TRAIN LIKE ONE
WORKOUT WHILE CROSSFIT IS CHALLENGING, IT’S ALSO EFFECTIVE. WHAT’S MORE, THE PRINCIPLES AND WORKOUT STRUCTURES THAT UNDERPIN CROSSFIT ARE UNIVERSALLY APPLICABLE. AND THESE BENEFITS ARE RESONATING WITH STRENGTH ATHLETES, FUNCTIONAL TRAINING PURISTS AND EVEN ENDURANCE ATHLETES ALIKE, WHICH IS A MAJOR REASON WHY THIS TYPE OF TRAINING HAS BECOME SO POPULAR AROUND THE WORLD, INCLUDING SOUTH AFRICA.
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CROSSFIT IS FUNCTIONAL
YOUR INTRODUCTION TO WODS ANYONE WHO JOINS A CROSSFIT BOX WILL BE TAKEN THROUGH A STRUCTURED SKILLS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM BEFORE THEY UNDERTAKE A PROPER CLASS. When you reach the necessary proficiency level, you’ll graduate to the normal class. The average hour-long session will consist of a warm-up, skill drills and the actual CrossFit workout – known as the workout of the day (WOD) – which typically lasts 20 minutes or less, but it is extremely intense, often requiring all-out effort. The class usually ends with a recovery and cool-down session. While it’s highly recommended that you
visit your nearest CrossFit box to train under the expert guidance of a qualified and experienced coach, if you’re looking to enjoy some of the benefits that CrossFit offers, you can incorporate certain elements into your usual training by structuring your workouts along similar lines. To give you a taste of what CrossFit has to offer, you can add these modified WODs to your normal routine.
WOD GUIDELINES: Ensure you’re well versed in the proper lifting techniques required in these workouts before engaging in them. Injuries become a bigger risk due to the tempo and structure of these workouts, which is why it’s important that you can execute the moves at a high tempo and under load using proper form. It is therefore advisable to seek the advice and guidance of a qualified trainer before starting a high-intensity program on your own. Always warm up properly before starting a high-intensity WOD. Time or record your WOD performance to track your progress and add a competitive element to your training.
MODEL: JACK MARE IJACK_THE_GIANT_SLAYER_91
CROSSFIT TRAINING IS LARGELY BUILT AROUND FUNCTIONAL EXERCISES, WHICH SHOULD BE EXECUTED WITH PROPER FORM IN A CONSECUTIVE MANNER, OFTEN IN THE SHORTEST TIME POSSIBLE. THIS CONSTANTLY VARIED, HIGH-INTENSITY PROGRAMMING CAN HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR OVERALL FITNESS AND STRENGTH AND YOUR GENERAL PHYSICAL ‘PREPAREDNESS’, WHICH OFFERS A BENEFICIAL CARRYOVER INTO EVERYDAY LIFE. YOU’LL ALSO BUILD A MORE MUSCULAR BODY. THIS MAKES IT THE IDEAL WAY TO TRAIN IN THE GYM FOR THOSE WHO ARE LIMITED FOR TIME AND WANT TO BENEFIT FROM EVERYTHING THAT HIGHINTENSITY INTERVAL-TYPE TRAINING OFFERS.
In The Gym 61
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
WORKOUT 1 Modified bear complex
Complete all 5 exercises to complete 1 rep. Repeat the complex 7 times without letting go of the bar or resting it on the ground to complete 1 round. Perform the finisher at the end of each round. Rest 60-90 seconds between rounds. Perform 5 rounds to complete the workout.
Deadlift HOW TO: With your feet placed flat on the floor beneath the Olympic bar, squat down and grasp the bar with an overhand grip, with your hands positioned at shoulder-width or slightly wider apart. Lift the bar by extending your knees and driving your hips up. Pull your shoulders back at the top of the lift. From this position move into the hang power clean movement. FORM TIP: KEEP THE BAR CLOSE TO YOUR BODY THROUGHOUT THE LIFT. B
Hang Power Clean HOW TO: From the upright deadlift position, bend your knees and hips so that the barbell touches your mid-thigh region. Your shoulders should be over the bar with your back slightly arched, with your arms straight and your elbows pointed along the length of the bar. Extend your body upwards as you shrug your shoulders and pull the barbell upwards with your arms. Flex your elbows out to the sides, keeping the bar close to your body. Pull your body under the bar while rotating your elbows around. â€˜Catchâ€™ the bar on your shoulders while moving into a semisquat position with your elbows pointing forward. Stand upright immediately once you have caught the bar. Move directly into the front squat. 62 Dis-Chem Living Fit
WORKOUT 1: MODIFIED BEAR
Front Squat HOW TO: With the bar placed on the front of your shoulders and your elbows facing forward and as high as possible, descend until your knees and hips are fully bent or until your thighs are just past parallel to the floor. Ensure that your knees travel outward in the same direction as your toes. When you reach the bottom of your range of motion, immediately drive back up through your heels by extending your knees and hips. Return to the upright position.
Move #4: B
Back Squat HOW TO: Press the barbell overhead and drop it back down behind your neck onto your upper back. Ensure that your feet are positioned shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in the knees and that you have a straight back with your head facing forward. Bend at the knees while allowing your hips to move back and down. Drop down into a deep squat, then drive yourself back up through your heels by extending your knees and hips, until you reach the upright position. Once you complete the rep, press the barbell back up and lower it back down to the floor.
KEEP YOUR KNEES POINTED IN THE SAME DIRECTION AS YOUR FEET AS YOU DESCEND DOWNWARDS. In The Gym 63
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FINISHER Box Jumps Ending a set, a round or even just your training session with a “finisher” exercise creates an even higher metabolic effect, which helps to boost your fitness and endurance, while also burning extra calories. Using a plyometric movement like the box jump is ideal because it uses multiple muscle groups and also builds explosive strength. HOW TO: Stand at arm’s length away from a solid box with your feet shoulderwidth apart. Bend your hips and knees until you reach a half squat position. Without pausing, forcefully extend your hips, knees and ankles in an explosive movement. Jump up onto the box, stick the landing and absorb the shock by dropping into a semi-squat. Step back down to the floor (do not jump) and repeat. .
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WORKOUT 2 (AMRAP) As many
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Execute as many reps as you can in 1 minute for each exercise. Move directly to the next station without resting. Complete all exercises to perform one circuit. Rest for up to 60 seconds between circuits. Repeat the entire circuit 3-5 times.
reps as possible
One-arm dumbbell snatches HOW TO: Position the dumbbell on the floor between your feet. Squat down and grasp the handle, keeping your arm straight and your shoulder over the dumbbell. Pull the dumbbell up by extending your hips and knees. As you do so, shrug your shoulder and pull the dumbbell up with your arm. As it rises up, allow it to rotate around your hand. Drop down into a semi-squat position as you â€˜catchâ€™ the dumbbell with an extended arm. Extend your hips and knees to stand up into an upright position, keeping the dumbbell overhead. Return to the starting position and repeat. Complete the required reps on each side before moving to the next exercise. D
A 66 Dis-Chem Living Fit
“CROSSFIT BLENDS FUNCTIONAL TRAINING SUCH AS OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING AND BODYWEIGHT TRAINING LIKE CALLISTHENICS AND PLYOMETRICS WITH SERIOUS INTENSITY. THIS GUARANTEES A HIGHLY EFFECTIVE AND CHALLENGING FULLBODY WORKOUT AT EVERY SESSION. CROSSFIT TRAINING IS ALSO VARIED – YOU SELDOM PERFORM THE SAME ROUTINE BECAUSE EVERY DAY IS DIFFERENT. AS A RESULT, YOUR BODY IS ALWAYS ADAPTING TO THE WORKOUTS AND THE DIFFERENT EXERCISE COMBINATIONS. THAT MEANS YOU’RE PRETTY MUCH GUARANTEED TO NEVER PLATEAU AND YOU’LL NEVER FALL INTO A TRAINING RUT.” - NICOLE MCKENZIE
HOW TO: Stand under a pull-up bar. Jump up and grip the bar with an overhand grip, with your hands placed much wider than shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up by driving your elbows down and contracting your big back muscles (your lats). Keep pulling your chest towards the bar, until your chin passes over it. Lower your body back down under control, until your arms and shoulders are fully extended. Repeat for the required duration.
In The Gym 67
68 Dis-Chem Living Fit
The goal for this exercise is to create and sustain velocity. Ensure that you move your hands high and low, and fast enough for the waves to make it all the way down the rope. Battling ropes deliver an intense cardiovascular and endurance workout in a very short period of time, while also incorporating multiple muscle groups and improving grip strength and shoulder endurance. Working the ropes also requires a coordinated physical effort that emanates from your core as these muscles are the prime movers required to initiate the movement and keep the momentum going. HOW TO: Grab the ends of the rope in each hand with a neutral grip. Space your feet shoulderwidth apart with your knees bent and your torso tilted forward at the hips. Lean back slightly. With your arms slightly bent at the elbows explosively alternate your arms in an up and down motion to create a wave that runs down the length of the battling rope. Continue this movement by generating the force through your core and the velocity of the waves through your arms. LF .
ASK THE PROS
That’s why it is difficult to provide exact timelines as it can take time, and trial and error to find the most effective approach for you. Having said that, science and research offers some insights regarding the rate at which we can expect to see results with the optimal approach.
I recently joined the gym. How long will it take to see results from my training? Shaun via Facebook
hen we start a new training plan or diet, we’re always eager to realise quick results. Of course, the changes that occur in response to exercise are varied. For instance, with the right training plan, your body composition will start to change as you burn body fat and add more muscle. You’ll get stronger, fitter and, possibly, more flexible and mobile. Some of these changes will happen quickly, while others will take more time.
The principle of individual difference
The rate at which you start to realise these changes will also vary from person to person based on numerous factors. The principle of individual difference dictates that people will respond differently to the same inputs – think diet and exercise – based on factors such as their genetics, age, hormonal profile, diet and lifestyle, and various environmental factors. For example, you might respond to highintensity interval training and a low-carb, high-fat diet, but your friend may realise better results from a carb cycling approach and more endurance-type training. 70 Dis-Chem Living Fit
The healthiest, most sustainable approach to weight loss is roughly
0.5kg per week.
This rate of weight loss requires that you create a 3,500-calorie deficit each week
Healthy, sustainable weight-loss
Most people who join a gym do so to lose weight. This outcome is obviously closely linked to your diet, which should provide the right macronutrient ratio based on your genetic makeup, and the appropriate calorie intake based on your daily activity levels and current metabolic rate. While people can realise significant weight loss from restrictive diet plans and high-volume training, the healthiest, most sustainable approach to weight loss is roughly 0.5kg, or 1lb per week. This rate of weight loss requires that you create a 3,500-calorie deficit each week through diet and exercise, which neatly equates to a 500-calorie-a-day deficit. Just be aware that you won’t be able to lose weight at this rate indefinitely. Due to the metabolic adaptations that occur during weight loss, a daily deficit of 500 calories produces slightly less of an effect on each subsequent day. While the impact is negligible at first, the more weight you lose, the greater this response becomes. The impact of this metabolic adaptation is so profound that over a 12-month period you can only expect to lose 50% of the weight that the 3,500-calorie deficit initially prompted. This effectively means that you would then need to create a 7,000-calorie deficit to lose the same amount of weight that was achieved in the initial stages of a diet, which is extreme and unsustainable. While the maths can become complicated and the principle of individual difference dictates that this won’t be the same for everyone, the general consensus is that the longer you diet, the greater your calorie deficit needs to be to realise results. That’s why it’s advisable to change elements of your training and/or diet periodically to keep seeing results.
3 MONTHS to a fitter you
The average person who starts a new strength training program can improve strength within just 4-6 weeks. However, that rapid progression is not directly related to an increase in muscle size, unfortunately. Instead, the initial strength gains come from the neuromuscular adaptations that occur during training. But with continued weight training over weeks and months, supported by the right diet, which must provide adequate protein from foods and supplements, you will start to add more muscle to your physique. First timer: Expect to see noticeable changes to muscles, particularly in your arms, shoulders and legs, within 8-12 weeks. This rate of progression will also depend on the type of training you perform, your training frequency and intensity, your genes and the effectiveness of your recovery approach. Going back to gym: If you’re making a return to the gym after a lay-off, you could see more muscle on your frame within as little as 3-4 weeks, depending on your degree of “muscle memory”. This happens because once your neuromuscular system learns and ‘memorises’ motor skills through repeatedly training specific movement patterns, it quickly re-establishes those pathways when you return to training.
6 WEEKS to stronger muscles
Your diet must provide adequate protein from foods and supplements to add more muscle to your physique.
WHAT WORKS FOR ONE MIGHT NOT WORK FOR THE OTHER.
In terms of your fitness, numerous studies show that an individual can reach peak cardiovascular fitness within 3 months, with numerous key adaptations occurring within the first 6 weeks that can significantly boost your fitness levels. For example, a study conducted by German researchers and published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, had 18 sedentary volunteers undergo a year of moderate intensity training. The participants engaged in a walk-jog program, exercising 3 times a week for 45 minutes. The researchers found that even at this low level of intensity and volume, the largest gains were seen in the first three months. After six months, most of the markers that were monitored began to plateau. It is possible to realise even better results in a shorter time frame, but only with the correct training approach that ideally includes more intense training. LF
“Studies show that an individual can reach peak cardiovascular fitness within 3 months.”
In The Gym 71
Intermittent fasting was the top dietrelated search in 2019 according to Googleâ€™s annual Year In Search report, but is this way of eating a fad or passing trend?
HYPE OR HELP? WHY INTERMITTENT FASTING IS A DIET WORTH CONSIDERING
When you actually Google the term, you get a mixed bag of results. Some experts praise the dietary approach for its many weight-loss and health-promoting benefits, while others caution against its use. As always, the truth may lie somewhere in between.
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INTERMITTENT FASTING DEFINED Before delving into the nuances of safe and effective intermittent fasting, it’s probably best to define the term as there are as many misconceptions about this diet as there are ‘flavours’. “Fasting has been around for centuries, be it for religious or cultural reasons. Only recently has mainstream society embraced it as a modern eating practise,” explains Vanessa de Ascencao, a nutritional consultant who holds a Master’s of Science in Nutrition. At the core, the principles that govern fasting diets can be understood as an eating pattern that limits or controls how many calories you eat and when you eat your meals. Basically, fasting involves purposefully manipulating your food and drink intake over a set period of time. But rather than the uninterrupted calorie restriction that most people associate with traditional fasting, which can go on for days, intermittent fasting requires that adherents simply limit their food intake to certain periods or ‘windows’ during the day or on certain days of
the week to mimic the effect that fasting has on the body. What it means This approach could entail abstaining from eating for 15-18 hours to skip a meal or two every day, or requires two-day weekly ‘fasts’ that limit energy intakes to 500600 calories a day. While previous research and modern societal norms have fuelled the notion that fasting can slow down your metabolism, more recent research affirms that shortterm intermittent fasting does not have a detrimental impact on your metabolism. Rather, it appears that longterm fasting for 48 hours or more has more of a negative effect. And COULD rather than YOU... follow this not eat for approach 15-18 hours indefinitely, to skip a most experts meal or two recommend every day? periodic, Or cut your strategicallycalories planned two days a fasts to week to limit derive the your energy greatest intake to weight-loss 500-600 and health calories a benefits. day.
THE FASTING FLAVOURS In its more commercial forms, intermittent fasting techniques go by several names, including the FastDiet, the 5:2 Diet, the Mosley Diet or the Warrior diet. Vanessa explains that the Mosley diet started as a documentary by British TV host Dr Michael Mosley. “He experimented with intermittent fasting to see if it helped him lose weight and feel better. Mosley delved into many studies on food restriction, weight loss and According ageing and interviewed the to Dr Mosley, primary researchers. Then our bodies he tried various methods don’t respond well to the on himself, starting with constant food a full fast. He eventually availability arrived at a ratio that that worked for him, which characterises was two days of partial modern life. fasting interspersed with five days of normal eating.” Mosley subsequently lost 9kg in nine weeks, and also lowered his cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
“Mosley’s logic is interesting as he claims that humans evolved to survive efficiently on a feast-famine schedule. When the tribe made a kill everyone feasted. When the hunt was less successful, they went hungry. They therefore adapted to an on-off feeding schedule, which is why, according to him, our bodies don’t respond well to the constant food availability that characterises modern life.”
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RESET YOUR HORMONES Those who support intermittent fasting suggest that this dietary approach works because cutting calories reduces insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) hormone levels in the blood.
“Research shows that reducing IGF-1 levels can turn on cellular repair mechanisms that help to reduce risks for cancer, heart disease and other illnesses,” adds Vanessa.
“Reduced IGF-1 levels also enable you to burn body fat at a higher rate and regulates our blood sugar at a normal level.” However, calorie restriction is only one aspect to this dietary approach’s effectiveness. The other reason behind the diet’s numerous
health, weight-loss and fat-loss benefits is the impact it has on insulin.
And all the added sugar and INSULIN carbohydrates RESISTANCE – especially the CAN RESULT IN processed varieties The process WEIGHT GAIN, – in the modern-day explained particularly diet requires a more When we eat a meal, around our pronounced insulin particularly one rich in waists, hips and response. Over carbs and sugar, our upper legs, and time, many people body releases insulin can eventually develop some from the pancreas, lead to type-II degree of insulin which is a powerful diabetes and resistance due ‘storage’ hormone that other lifestyle to the combined deals with the resultant effects of a chronic, diseases if left spike in circulating blood overblown insulin unchecked sugar (glucose). response and a loss Insulin shuttles of sensitivity from circulating glucose from receptors in cells. the bloodstream into muscle cells, And insulin resistance can result in where it is then metabolised for weight gain, particularly around our energy or stored as glycogen. Any waists, hips and upper legs, and can excess glycogen gets stored as eventually lead to type-II diabetes fat, and the more insulin our body and other lifestyle diseases if left releases, the more energy we’re unchecked. likely to ‘store’.
SHARPEN YOUR HUNGER RESPONSE
curb emotional, impulse and mindless eating and re-establish good, healthful eating habits
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Another hormone that has been implicated in weight loss and weight gain is leptin, which controls appetite and also promotes fat metabolism. When leptin levels drop you get hungry. When we eat, leptin levels rise until a threshold is reached. This signals to your body that you’ve eaten sufficient calories and nutrients and consequently shuts off the hunger impulse. But due to poor diet quality, yo-yo dieting and
high levels of body fat, many people have become leptin resistant. As a result, they don’t feel full when they should. That’s why you need to regain leptin sensitivity to experience successful and sustainable weight loss, which we can achieve through some form of shortterm fasting. Those who follow this way of eating often rediscover their satiety response, which can help to curb emotional, impulse and mindless eating and re-establish good, healthful eating habits.
THE FASTING MECHANISM When you fast for 12 hours or more, your body has an opportunity to reset its natural hormonal response and, eventually, restore optimal function. For example, by limiting those constant glucose spikes, intermittent fasting helps to improve your insulin response by reducing the amount of this hormone that your pancreas needs to produce. It also resets insulin receptor sensitivity. Studies conducted on animals and people tend to show that those who live longer than average all tend to have low insulin levels, presumably because their cells are more sensitive to the hormone and therefore need less of it to function properly.
Active individuals who follow an intermittent fasting approach should eat most of their calories around workouts, preferably 40% before and 60% after.
Fasting benefits to your body: Improved insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial energy efficiency
This approach can retard the ageing process and prevents the onset of various diseases that are typically associated with a loss of insulin sensitivity and a decline in mitochondrial energy.
EASIER TO FOLLOW “People also seem to like that intermittent fasting doesn’t restrict calories for consecutive days. You’re not even required to restrict the amount of food you eat on this type of daily scheduled eating plan,” states Vanessa. Adherents can simply restrict their meals to eight-hour windows, like between the hours of 10am and 6pm.
“It’s a way of healthier eating that doesn’t feel like you’re sacrificing too much,” elaborates
Vanessa. Active individuals who follow an intermittent fasting approach should eat most of their calories around workouts, preferably 40% before and 60% after. This increases insulin sensitivity and enhances how the body digests and uses the macronutrients during the highly anabolic (muscle-building) post-exercise period. Numerous articles and studies also highlight how adherents enjoy bigger, more satisfying meals when they do eat.
Reduced oxidative stress
Fasting can decrease the accumulation of oxidative free radicals in cells, thereby preventing oxidative damage to the cellular proteins, lipids and nucleic acids associated with ageing and disease.
Increased capacity to resist stress, disease and ageing
Fasting induces a cellular stress response similar to that induced by exercise whereby cells up-regulate the gene expression that increases the capacity to cope with stress, resist disease and slow the ageing process.
Intermittent fasting guidelines: Alternate days of normal and restricted calorie consumption, or use the popular 5:2 strategy, which requires ‘fasting’ for two days a week, interspersed with five days of normal eating. Abstain from eating for 15-18 hours to skip a meal or two on fasting days. Choose healthy, nutrient-dense foods and minimise your carb intake by replacing them with healthy fats. Follow this approach on fasting and normal meal days. Work your way up to 15-18 hour fasts if your normal schedule included multiple meals a day.
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GROWING SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT In terms of intermittent fasting’s potential health benefits, a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism in 2019 found that participants diagnosed with metabolic syndrome who followed an intermittent fasting diet lost weight, reduced their waist circumference and lowered their cholesterol and blood pressure over three months. Vanessa also cites a review by Dr Joseph Mercola, which evaluated the various approaches to this diet, particularly the advantages and limitations for its use in fighting obesity and type-II diabetes. “The research found that overweight or obese individuals with type-II diabetes who fasted on consecutive or alternate days lost more weight, while also experiencing enhanced heart health and
cardio-protective benefits*. Studies included in the review showed a broad range of therapeutic potential, even when total calorie intake per day did not change or was only slightly reduced.” There is also scientific support for the claim that intermittent fasting is easier to adhere to. A study published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which followed 250 people for a year who opted to eat a Mediterranean, intermittent fasting or a Paleo diet with minimal professional support, found that more than half of participants (54%) in the fasting group remained on the diet after a year (compared to 57% on the Med diet and just 35% on the Paleo), but they also lost the most weight (5kg on average).
*These benefits include evidence that intermittent fasting may: Limit or reduce inflammation; Improve metabolic efficiency and body composition; Reverse, prevent and slow type-II diabetes progression; Reproduce some of the cardiovascular benefits associated with physical exercise; Reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels; Protect against cardiovascular disease; Improve pancreatic function; Reduce body weight in obese individuals; Improve circulating glucose and lipid levels; Reduce blood pressure; Improve insulin levels and insulin sensitivity; Modulate visceral fat levels.
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WHEN INTERMITTENT FASTING IS NOT FOR YOU While everyone should consult with their doctor or a qualified dietitian before adopting any new dietary approach, Vanessa says that you should avoid any form of fasting if you’re hypoglycaemic, diabetic or pregnant (and/or breastfeeding).
“Others who should avoid fasting include those living with chronic stress and those with cortisol dysregulation,” she adds. It is also essential to focus on proper nutrition when fasting to ensure an adequate micronutrient intake.
“Addressing your diet should be your first step. Keep your diet clean by including an abundance of fruit, vegetables, lean protein and wholesome grains. Minimise carbs by replacing them with healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, olives, eggs, avocados and nuts,” suggests Vanessa.
“Go slow and always listen to your body. Address any hypoglycaemic tendencies such as headaches, weakness, tremors or irritability as these can become increasingly dangerous the longer you go without eating to level out your blood sugar,” she advises. After a fast, it is not advisable to consume ‘heavy’ foods, overly processed foods or foods that are high in sugar. “Stick to anything that’s found in nature or grown naturally,” she concludes. LF
OUR BODIES NEED AMINO ACIDS TO MAKE THE PROTEINS THAT REPAIR AND REBUILD OUR MUSCLES. To get these amino acids, our bodies break down the complete proteins from our meals and supplements into their constituent building blocks. These amino acids then circulate throughout our bodies to build muscle and drive other important biological processes.
There are 20 standard amino acids that are most 78 Dis-Chem Living Fit
relevant to gym-goers, nine of which are considered essential because the body cannot produce them from other compounds.
As such, we need to meet our body’s essential amino acid (EAA) requirements from whole-food and supplement sources. Among these EAAs, there are three with a branch-like structure, namely isoleucine, leucine and valine. And if you look beyond the protein powders at your local Dis-Chem store, you’ll likely find smaller tubs labelled ‘BCAAs’.
BCAAS BYPASS THE LIVER AND GUT AND ARE ABSORBED DIRECTLY INTO THE BLOODSTREAM. THAT’S WHY THEY REACH MUSCLE CELLS QUICKER THAN A COMPLETE PROTEIN, SO THEY CAN GET TO WORK FASTER.
Unchain your gains with these potent supplements
WHY YOU NEED IT: BCAAs play important roles in limiting tissue damage during intense exercise, and help to repair and build muscle tissue. That’s why many informed and serious weightlifters include these products in their supplement plans. The muscle-sparing effect you get from BCAAs is an important attribute that makes these products ideal for use before and during your workouts. These supplements have a high bioavailability because supplement manufacturers provide free-form BCAAs, which means the digestive system doesn’t have to do the heavy lifting, so to speak, to break them down. BCAAs bypass the liver and gut and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. They, therefore, reach muscle cells quicker than a complete protein, so they can get to work faster. Once in the muscle cell, they are preferentially metabolised over other amino acids and converted into glucose to provide energy. This limits the body’s need to break down muscle tissue to access amino acids when glycogen levels run low. A study conducted at the School of Human Biology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, confirmed that ingesting BCAAs (up to 4g) during and after exercise could reduce muscle breakdown during exercise. Researchers at the Department of Biochemistry of the Mie University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan also concluded
that BCAAs play a key role in kickstarting the process that converts amino acids into glucose (called gluconeogenesis). By limiting muscle tissue damage, supplementing with BCAAs may also blunt cortisol release, which is a powerful stress hormone that can hamper your recovery. BCAA supplements can help reduce our recovery demands after exercise by limiting the damage caused, which may help ease delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after weight
Rage Aminos 300g
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training, and could also help to boost performance at your next training session. Win win!
A POTENT MUSCLE BUILDER
And BCAAs can also boost the repair process after exercise, particularly leucine. Leucine is a more potent muscle protein synthesis (MPS) stimulator than the other two BCAAs because it activates an anabolic (musclebuilding) pathway. Higher leucine levels indicate to the body that there is sufficient dietary protein to create new muscle. This signals a specific gene to create more of an anabolic cell signalling messenger called mTOR, which is why many BCAA supplements include higher leucine contents in various ratios. The industry standard is usually a 2:1:1 leucine: isoleucine: valine ratio, but products aimed at bodybuilders or other high-level athletes who may have higher recovery demands go as high as 8:1:1. However, it appears that L-leucine on its own doesn’t have the same impact. Researchers at Baylor University in Texas, US, fed study participants either a leucine supplement, a 2:1:1 BCAA supplement, or a placebo before and after a leg workout. The results, which were published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, showed that while leucine increased muscle protein synthesis after the workout better than the placebo, the BCAAs had a bigger effect on MPS than both leucine and the placebo. In The Gym 79
A FACTOR IN FAT LOSS
There is also some research that suggests these biologicallysignificant compounds can aid fat loss and endurance. In this regard, there seems to be three key areas where BCAAs benefit fat loss: They can help to decrease appetite while increasing metabolism; They decrease muscle protein breakdown (as already explained), which is highly beneficial when you’re following a caloriecontrolled diet; and They can reduce perceived exertion during training. For instance, a December 2012 study released by the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Texas Medical Branch showed that BCAAs have an effect on both insulin sensitivity and interact with the brain chemical serotonin to reduce cravings and hunger. A March 2011 study, conducted by Gualano, et al., investigated the effect of BCAA supplementation on exercise performance and energy metabolism in glycogendepleted athletes. The research showed that three days of high-dose BCAA supplementation resulted in increased fat oxidation and exercise performance in response to glycogen depletion compared to a placebo. And a final study worth mentioning was published in 2008 in the journal AGE. The findings showed that a dose of 12g of the BCAA leucine taken in combination with oleic acid and DHA resulted
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in 1.8kg of lost weight over a two-week period among women over the age of 38. The research team concluded that “this study demonstrates that leucine may cause weight loss through signalling mechanisms to the brain and adipose tissue”.
PUSHING BACK THE WALL
The final benefit – improved endurance. This was demonstrated in a November 2012 study conducted at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, which found that rats fed a BCAA supplement before a swimming test increased time to exhaustion by 37% compared to the control group. This was attributed to the role of BCAAs in energy production, as well as the supplement’s ability to interfere with the production of ammonia and lactic acid in muscles, which causes fatigue and limits performance.
A FINAL WORD
Based on this information, you might be tempted to swap your whey or plant protein for free-form BCAAs throughout the day as they appear to be more efficiently absorbed than complete proteins. It’s important not to oversimplify the concept. While numerous studies support the muscle-sparing effects of free-form amino acid supplements in general, and BCAAs in particular, there is also additional research available that shows complete proteins are superior for optimal postworkout recovery. As such, a combination of amino acids taken before and during training, and a tasty whey or plant protein shake after your session, seems to be the most effective approach. LF
OPTIMUM NUTRITION MULTIVITAMIN OF THE YEAR
OPTIMUM NUTRITION PROTEIN POWDER OF THE YEAR
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INTERNATIONALLY VOTED SUPPLEMENT OF THE YEAR & BEST OVERALL PROTEIN POWDER OF THE YEAR 14 YEARS IN A ROW
MICKAEL’S SUPPLEMENT STACK:
“If you want to get serious about building a better body, you need to execute your nutrition and training plans with military precision EVOX ACCELER8
EVOX BCAA & EAA AMINO ENERGY
MEN’S PHYSIQUE ATHLETE
Men’s Physique athletes generally sport one of the more aspirational physiques in the bodybuilding world. These modern-day Adonises’ don’t carry as much muscle mass
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as their bigger bodybuilder counterparts, yet are just as lean. Their balance of muscle size, symmetry and conditioning makes their aesthetic extremely appealing to a broader segment in society. EVOX ALPHA PRE-SURGE EXTREME
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To get the inside scoop on what it takes to craft a body worthy of the Men’s Physique line-up, we spoke to rising star and 2019 PCA Pro-Am champion, Mickael Davis. “People always ask me how many hours of training they should average a week to get bigger and more defined. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer because requirements will vary depending on various factors.” There are certain basic principles that are non-negotiable for anyone attempting to build muscle and shred fat in the gym. “If you want to get serious about building a better body, you need to execute your nutrition and training plans with military precision. While your training splits and nutrition regimen will vary based on your specific goals, be it gunning for gains (bulking) or shredding fat (cutting), you need to get the basics right.”
Keep it old-school
In this regard, Mickael sticks to the old-school bodybuilding mentality of isolating each muscle group according to a five-day cycle. His weekly workout split consists of: Day 1: Chest & triceps Day 2: Legs Day 3: Back & biceps Day 4: Shoulders Day 5: Rest Repeat cycle “If I want to grow a certain muscle group, I’ll introduce a second targeted workout on the sixth day.”
PRE-WORKOUT “On a typical day, I wake up at 4:30am and take a multivitamin, along with Evox Acceler8 Advanced HD for that extra thermo-boost.” Mickael always drinks Evox Iso-Frost Whey Isolate on an empty stomach before his training sessions. “Iso-Frost Whey is a clean and pure form of whey protein. It has all the amino acids I need to support muscle growth, and it’s also easy on my digestive system – it’s not milky or creamy. Consuming a drink this early in the morning means I need something that is light and fruity, which is exactly what Evox Iso-Frost delivers. It’s an amazing product and, with only 1g of carbs and no added sugar, it’s ideal for anyone who follows a balanced, lean diet.” Before he leaves the house, Mickael grabs another one of his favourite Evox products, BCAA & EAA Amino Energy. “I sip on it while driving to the gym for an extra energy boost before I hit the gym. It also helps to limit muscle loss and aids recovery during my cardio session.”
“My workouts last between 60-90 minutes. Taking longer either means you’re not pushing yourself hard enough, or your transition periods between exercises are too long,” adds Mickael.
Mickael’s chest and triceps workout
Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Presses: 5 sets x 12, 12, 10, 10, 10 reps Smith Machine Incline Bench Presses: 5 sets x 12, 12, 10, 10, 10 reps Decline Dumbbell Bench Presses: 5 sets x 12, 12, 10, 10, 10 reps Cable Crossover: 5 sets x 10 reps Dumbbell flys: 5 sets x 12, 12, 8, 8, 8 reps Close-Grip Barbell Bench Presses: 3 sets x 8, 6, 4 reps Rope Pulldowns: 3 sets x 8, 6, 4 reps Standing Dumbbell Tricep Extensions: 3 sets, 8, 6, 4 reps
INTRA & POST-WORKOUT Mickael normally spends about 45-60 minutes on the treadmill and then hits a 15-minute ab workout in the morning. “I always sip on Evox Alpha Amino Elite during my workout to keep me going. After my workout, I immediately mix up another scoop of Evox Iso-Frost to boost my recovery, before heading off to my 8-5 job.” After he’s knocked out the last rep of his session, Mickael combines 2 scoops of Evox Advanced Whey Protein with ice-cold water in his Evox shaker. LF
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hile whey protein is highly effective and beneficial, it can cause bloating and gas among those with digestive sensitivities. The more common cause of these uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing issues is lactose intolerance.
It’s the dairy!
Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process, which means it is one of two protein sources derived from dairy (the other is casein). All dairy products, including milk, cheese and whey, contain lactose, a large sugar molecule comprised of glucose and galactose. Your body requires sufficient lactase (a digestive enzyme) to
properly digest lactose. Those who lack sufficient lactase will generally experience intestinal bloating, discomfort and, possibly, that dreaded gas.
The fermentation factor
It all boils down to ineffective digestion, because these partially digested milk sugars move further down your digestive tract, where gut bacteria attempt to break them down through fermentation. This can cause gases like hydrogen sulfide and nitrogen to develop, and you’ll eventually need to release the build-up, which is what produces those
unwanted gas emissions. While it can take up to 48 hours or more for these issues to develop, depending on your meal composition and digestive health, many food intolerances have an almost immediate effect. The other potential cause is an adverse reaction to some of the artificial sweeteners included in certain flavoured whey products. Sweeteners like xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol are sugar alcohols that can also contribute to your gas problem
Searching for solutions
Before you ditch whey, try switching brands to see if you experience an improvement. Look for products that don’t contain the sweeteners mentioned
to eliminate that potential cause from the list. Furthermore, you may want to consider switching from a whey concentrate to an isolate or hydrolysate. The latter products undergo additional processing to filter out more lactose. A blend may also provide relief. There are also whey protein products available that contain added digestive enzymes, which help to reduce symptoms associated with lactose intolerance or other forms of digestive discomfort commonly experienced by sensitive individuals. If your gas and gut issues persist, consider switching to a plant-based protein powder. Just make sure it’s a blend that combines plant-derived protein sources to benefit from a complete amino acid profile. LF
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BUSI’S SUPPLEMENT STACK:
“We are what we believe we are.” C.S. Lewis
BUSISIWE MMOTLA THE NEW FACE OF FITNESS 86 Dis-Chem Living Fit
USN BlueLab™ 100% Whey A high quality blend of whey protein isolate, concentrate and hydrolysate for optimal absorption. This premium blend boosts lean muscle development, and shortens recovery times.
USN ALL9™ All9™ Amino contains naturally fermented BCAAs and EAAs, which prevent muscle breakdown and promote lean muscle development. Enhanced with coconut water and electrolytes, ensuring the body is well hydrated; and Taurine and Glutamine to boost performance levels.
For more than a decade, the annual USN Face of Fitness cover model search has provided a platform to uncover new talent, outside of conventional industry showcases like Bikini competitions and sporting events. Every year, the competition is inundated with entries from aspiring fitness models, hopeful fitness enthusiasts and athletes. Competition is fierce as every entrant embodies a healthy and fit lifestyle, and wants to use the platform provided to launch their career.
Finding fresh faces
More than 200 entries were submitted for the 2019 competition, but in the end only one deserving finalist could earn the coveted USN Face of Fitness title. Following an online public voting process, in-person interviews and deliberation from a judging panel, Busisiwe Mmotla, a qualified teacher from Soweto, was ultimately selected as the next fresh face to drive the fitness industry forward in 2020 and beyond. Busi’s look is not only unique and vibrant, but she also has a compelling story to share. Overcoming the challenges she faced through her disadvantaged upbringing, Busi has created numerous opportunities to build her profile and advance her career. From winning the Miss Soweto crown in 2017, to taking a gamble and putting herself out there by entering the USN Face of Fitness a mere five months after entering a gym, she is proof positive that the right mindset and dogged determination can overcome any obstacle.
ABOUT BUSI Age: 26
Igniting her burning ambition
As the youngest of seven siblings in a family raised by a single unemployed mother, Busi battled through life.
“Living in a shack with an unemployed mother meant I couldn’t achieve everything I wanted, which crushed my confidence. I also had to learn to be responsible at a young age, but this also taught me the value of working hard to achieve what you want, which has served me well throughout my life.” After matric, Busi struggled to get funding for university, but she never gave up and after two years of doggedly chasing her ambitions, she finally secured some financial support. “My mom worked hard to make ends meet and get me through varsity because my loan only covered costs like groceries in the fourth year.”
3 weight training sessions a week and 1 full-body HIIT session a week
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“THAT’S WHAT FITNESS IS ABOUT. BY TAKING THIS DECISION, YOU CAN AVOID MANY ILLNESSES AND ADD MORE YEARS TO YOUR LIFE TO TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE.” And it is this sacrifice that has inspired Busi’s dream to one day buy her mother a house as a token of her appreciation for all the support. “This dream motivates me and drives me on those days when I want to give up. It forces me to explore every opportunity presented to me and to work hard. I want to become a beacon of hope and prove that your circumstances are not your final destination.”
Busi’s fitness journey
Busi first turned to fitness as a means to manage her anxiety. “Having endured two abusive relationships, a stressful Miss Soweto reign and being unemployed, I needed something that would help me feel beautiful and worth it again.” She found gym to be a healing space. “It offered me a release for pent-up emotions. It also made me fall in love with the process, while learning to appreciate my flaws and to love myself more. It has been less than a year since I started my fitness journey, but it’s the longest time I’ve been at peace. Fitness has become my therapy.” Busi is also a big fan of outdoor activities. “I hike and do fun runs and walks with friends because I find it refreshing. Being around nature relieves stress, you forget about everything and feel like you are a new person, ready to overcome any challenge.”
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Get your nutrition on point
Busi says she learned everything she knows about nutrition through her trainer, the internet and following fitness influencers and engaging brands on social media like USN and Trifocus Fitness Academy. “I take the information I gather and mould it according to my fitness goals. I still fall off the wagon but I’ve learned to be patient with myself. Sticking to my goal of eating healthily is the key to my success.” Busi’s nutritional approach entails a diet with a 30:30:40 protein:fat:carb macronutrient ratio. “I feel this is the most balanced nutritional approach.”
Unlocking endless possibilities
Since winning the USN Face of Fitness title, Busi hopes to use the opportunities her sponsorships and role as a brand ambassador create to empower others and further her career. “I want to share my health and fitness knowledge with my community in and around Soweto through wellness panel discussions, with a focus on reaching young women who don’t really understand the power of fitness and health.” To have the greatest impact, Busi plans to complete a nutrition course to teach people about the importance of healthful eating. Busi also wants to remove the stigma that weight training means
‘bodybuilding’. “I plan to start my own aerobics sessions and regular runs for my community to get them active, especially senior citizens.” Ultimately, she wants to show more people that the greatest gift you can give yourself is taking care of your health and your body. “That’s what fitness is about. By taking this decision, you can avoid many illnesses and add more years to your life to take care of the people you love.” LF
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PHOTO BY WWW.JAMESPATRICK.COM
YOUR GUIDE TO GETTING A
LEANER. stronger. better
In our quest for the ultimate midsection, we tend to spend a lot of time focused on crunches and sit-ups. But if you’re really looking to bring out those elusive blocks in your midsection (those are the rectus abdominis muscles) or accentuate the sweeps in your lower abs (those are the obliques), then you need two things – a strict eating plan to achieve a low body fat percentage and a comprehensive workout for ab development. While your genetics will influence the final outcome, anyone who eats and trains correctly can achieve a desirable and attractive midsection. Ultimately, it takes dedication, both in the kitchen and the gym, to craft that sought-after six-pack. Here’s how to get the most from your efforts...
Scan this for a guide on carb cycling and carb backloading.
EAT YOUR WAY TO AWESOME ABS
IF YOU REALLY WANT A MIDSECTION THAT TURNS HEADS, IT ALL STARTS WITH WHAT YOU EAT. AFTER ALL, YOU CAN’T OUTEXERCISE A BAD DIET, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR ABS. Our bodies also have a higher propensity to store fat around our midsection when we eat diets filled with processed carbs and sugar due to the role insulin plays in the fat storage process. That’s why it’s essential that you follow a calorie-
controlled eating plan that eliminates problem foods from your diet. Another effective way to promote fat metabolism and improve your body’s insulin response is through some form of carbohydrate manipulation diet. You can go lowcarb, high-fat or adopt carb cycling, carb backloading or intermittent fasting – whichever works best for your body, lifestyle and genetics – to limit fat storage around your belly, while promoting fat loss during training and everyday life.
WHATEVER DIETARY APPROACH YOU CHOOSE, BE SURE TO INCLUDE A VARIETY OF COLOURFUL VEGETABLES, SOME FRUITS, LEAN MEATS AND HEALTHY FATS TO AID YOUR QUEST FOR AMAZING ABS.
In The Gym 91
TRY THESE AB EXERCISES
#2 IDEAL WEIGHTED AB EXERCISES: Dumbbell push sit-up Hanging weighted leg raises Cable kneeling crunch Weighted crunch on stability ball Russian twist with plate or medicine ball Cable woodchop
IDEAL BODYWEIGHT AB EXERCISE: Plank Side plank Deadbugs Bicycles Sit-up
DID YOU KNOW:
YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR METABOLISM IF YOU OCCASIONALLY TRAIN IN A FASTED STATE.
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VARY YOUR EXERCISE REPERTOIRE AS OUR ABDOMINALS PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN STABILISATION, THEY WORK CONSTANTLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY TO PERFORM THEIR TASKS. Strong rectus abdominis muscles are essential for good posture, movement efficiency and power generation and transmission throughout the body. Theyâ€™re also involved in other functions, like hip flexion and trunk rotation and lateral flexion. This means they respond to exercise differently than most other muscle groups, and they require a combination of exercises to achieve the ideal sixpack. The bread-and-butter moves like planks and (strict) sit-ups work well to strengthen the midsection and create the washboard look so many of us aspire to, but there is often a disproportionate focus on bodyweight ab exercises in these routines. We should also impose direct resistance in the form of weights or cables, or allow gravity to do its work with eccentric movements. This combination is best to develop our abdominal muscles.
COUNT CARDIO IN
SUPPLEMENT YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS
ADDING HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT) CARDIO INTO YOUR TRAINING PLAN IS ANOTHER GREAT WAY TO BLAST CALORIES AND BURN FAT, PARTICULARLY AS IT RAISES YOUR METABOLIC RATE FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME FOLLOWING INTENSE SESSIONS. It also releases a different set of hormones due to the intensity, which aids muscle repair and fat loss, whereas steady-state cardio can increase cortisol levels, which can lead to increased fat storage, particularly around your waist. However, the right amount of steady-state cardio, especially when you’re in a fasted state, has its place in any fat-loss program as it helps your body become more efficient at tapping into stored fat for energy. This only happens when glycogen stores are manipulated in the correct manner, though.
IT IS ONLY WITH THE RIGHT BODY-FAT PERCENTAGE AND THE CORRECT AB DEVELOPMENT THAT YOUR HARD-EARNED SIXPACK ABS OR SHAPELY MIDSECTION WILL SHINE THROUGH. Fat burners can help to accelerate the process and bring out the finer details as you rid your midsection of that last bit of stubborn fat. Your ideal approach is the use of a body toner, such as CLA and L-Carnitine, throughout the year, with 6-8 week cycles of a thermogenic fat burner. And when it’s finally time for the big reveal, be it a beach holiday or poolside gathering, natural diuretics that include a blend of herbal extracts and ingredients can help you reduce water retention and bloating to reveal a lean and toned midsection. LF
STRONG RECTUS ABDOMINIS MUSCLES ARE ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD POSTURE, MOVEMENT EFFICIENCY AND POWER GENERATION AND TRANSMISSION THROUGHOUT THE BODY
SOME OPTIONS: STIMULANT FREE
Biogen Liquid L-Carnitine
NPL L-Carnitine Liquid 2500
USN Phedracut Stimulant free
NPL Night Time Burn
NPL Thermo Fuel
USN Lipo X Black
Pharmafreak Ripped Freak 2.0
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ROBBIâ€™S SUPPLEMENT STACK:
NPL brand manager, athlete, coach and fitpreneur Robbie Crafford is a seasoned campaigner. This NPL-sponsored bodybuilder first hit the stage in 2010 as a 23-year-old with huge potential. After discovering his passion for bodybuilding, he boarded the gain train and has spent that last decade building his body, his brand and his reputation. He has also learnt a few things along the way, which he shares with us in this exclusive interview.
ROBBI CRAFFORD LEADING THE #NPLARMY
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NPL CITRULLINE MALATE
NPL NITRO RUSH
NPL AMINO ARMOUR
NPL PRO GAINS
BEFORE BED: NPL PRO TEST
NPL MICELLAR CASEIN
What does it take to make a name for yourself in the bodybuilding and fitness industry?
In my opinion, learn and experience as much as you can. Focus on yourself, amplify your strengths and start building a name for yourself without riding off brands or other athletes. But be open to learning – imitate a sponge and absorb everything you can, but be wise enough to filter it, applying only what resonates with you and your lifestyle. Above all else, nurture your passion, work hard, remain loyal and be patient. Eventually you’ll attract attention from within the industry and, as you earn their respect, the brands will come to you.
How would you contextualise your nutrition and supplement approach?
As a coach and athlete, I
understand the importance of both nutrition and supplementation; and how they can mean the difference between me humbly reaching my goals and the bitter disappointment of failure. But prepping for a bodybuilding show leaves very little room for error, and this is where I feel supplements offer the most benefits. Pre-workouts boost energy levels on days when your energyrestricted diet makes it almost impossible to lift a weight. BCAAs and EAAs are also important for athletes who train with high intensity because they limit muscle breakdown, especially as body fat levels decrease. Protein shakes offer a convenient way to hit your macros as they’re high in protein and low in carbs – ideal for building lean muscle and enhancing recovery. However, your diet should always form your base, working hand in hand with your supplement plan to reach your goals.
Clued up with Robbi Where do you get your motivation from?
My support system – my wife, family, coach and friends. The small things they say and do daily motivate me. And the fact that I actually do what I love, I am healthy and able inspires me daily. In my opinion, this is the hardest sport in the world and no-one is forcing me to do it. It demands everything you have 24/7. I am solely accountable for my success and my failure, which is something truly unique to this lifestyle.
hat can we expect from you in 2020?
I am taking this year to work on my weak points, and to grow as much as I can in all areas – physically, mentally and emotionally. This sport requires a lot more than brawn. By the end of 2020, I would like to be ready to step on stage as a 212 bodybuilder. Age: 33 Occupation: NPL brand manager, coach (Iron Squad), owner (Mayhem Wear) Home gym: Alleysway Gym, Bedfordview Coach: Vic Alley Achievements: 2014 NABBA/WFF World Championships - 4th 2015 NABBA/WFF World Championships - 3rd 2016 WFF Universe - 2nd 2019 NPC/IFBB Pro League: Amateur Olympia Spain - Top 10 Amateur Olympia Portugal - Top 10
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow the bodybuilding lifestyle?
Firstly, have a passion for it, and then just start! Find a reliable and credible source of information, ideally an experienced and qualified individual, to guide you on your path. Set small, attainable goals daily and hold yourself accountable at all times. Practice self-discipline and, most importantly, stay humble. LF
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STRAVA’S 2019 YEAR IN SPORT REPORT REVEALS THAT VIRTUAL REALITY CYCLING ADOPTION BY CYCLISTS HAS NEARLY TRIPLED SINCE 2016.
MIND GAMES A STUDY OF TRIATHLETES PUBLISHED IN 2019 IN THE JOURNAL CURRENT BIOLOGY SHOWED THAT PROLONGED OVERTRAINING OVER SEVERAL WEEKS DECREASED ACTIVITY IN AN AREA OF THE BRAIN INVOLVED IN DECISION-MAKING, WHILE ALSO SHIFTING THEIR PSYCHOLOGY FROM LONG-TERM GOAL ATTAINMENT TO A STRONGER DESIRE FOR INSTANT GRATIFICATION.
ENDU 4 years
THAT’S HOW MUCH TIME TRAINING FOR AND RUNNING A MARATHON COULD CUT FROM YOUR “VASCULAR AGE”, ACCORDING TO RESEARCH FROM BARTS AND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON. RESEARCHERS TESTED 138 NOVICE RUNNERS WHO TRAINED FOR THE LONDON MARATHON AND FOUND THAT SIX MONTHS OF TRAINING IMPROVED ARTERIAL ELASTICITY. *FINDINGS PUBLISHED IN THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY.
6.5km THAT’S THE LENGTH OF THE AVERAGE RUN UPLOADED TO STRAVA IN 2019, ACCORDING TO THE COMPANY’S YEAR IN SPORT REPORT.
RANCE “YOU WILL NEVER KNOW YOUR LIMITS UNLESS YOU PUSH YOURSELF TO THEM.”
in this section Q&A
How to manage a stitch...98
Solid vs liquid energy...110
Alwyn Uys ...114
AS YOUR HEART RATE RISES, MORE RED BLOOD CELLS ENTER THE LIVER. THIS CAN CAUSE A TEMPORARY STATE OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE IN THE LIVER, WHICH RESTRICTS BLOOD FLOW THROUGH THE LIVER’S PORTAL VEIN TO THE REST OF THE BODY.
ASK THE PROS What’s the best way to deal with mid-run side stitches? Ruan via Facebook
nyone who runs for fun or fitness will know the devastating effects of a side stitch. The scientific name for the condition is exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP), which generally refers to a sharp, stabbing sensation that can occur on either side of your abdomen, just under the ribs. While the exact causes remain unclear, there are numerous theories used to explain this cramp-like ailment, which seems to be more prolific among runners than other athletes. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine in 2014 found that 70% of runners had experienced a side stitch in the preceding 12 months. However, it seems that any activity that involves trunk rotation and stabilisation can cause a side stitch, including swimming and horse riding.
An odd occurrence
Interestingly, a stitch is more commonly reported on an athlete’s right side, which has led to two ETAP theories. The more popular theory suggests that the pain may be caused by an increase in blood flow to the liver – your largest internal organ – during exercise, which is located on the right side of your abdomen, beneath your diaphragm. 98 Dis-Chem Living Fit
Studies suggest that a lack of blood flow to the diaphragm – the thin muscle at the bottom of your chest that aids breathing – can lead to a side stitch.
As your heart rate rises, more red blood cells enter the liver. This can cause a temporary state of high blood pressure in the liver, which restricts blood flow through the liver’s portal vein to the rest of the body. Another possible cause, particularly among runners, relates to how athletes breathe. Most people breathe in a shallow fashion using an even number pattern – breathing out on every second, fourth or sixth footfall. The problem with this pattern is that you always breathe out when landing on the same leg.
Other studies suggest that a lack of blood flow to the diaphragm – the thin muscle at the bottom of your chest that aids breathing – can lead to a side stitch. This happens because blood is diverted to working muscles in the legs during exercise (or arms, if you’re swimming) and away from the diaphragm. Another explanation suggests that the peritoneum – a lining in the abdominal cavity – or the ligaments that support your internal organs can become irritated due to the movement and friction in the torso that accompanies certain exercises. However, this theory doesn’t account for the prevalence of side stitches while swimming. A final consideration is the impact that food and drink have on your digestive system while you exercise. Athletes who exercise after eating a large meal or drinking too much liquid, especially sugary sports drinks, can experience a stitch due to an engorged gut, or from compromised absorption.
When you exhale you lose the core stabilisation effect that lungs filled with air exert on your torso. When this happens, other core and stabiliser muscles need to work harder to compensate and one side of the body fatigues quicker. This can lead to cramping on the overworked side of your body. A potential solution to your side stitches entails breathing using an odd number footfall pattern – 3, 5 or 7 steps. This will ensure you land on alternate feet while running, which means the impact and stress is more evenly distributed across both sides of your body.
Treating a stitch
The solutions to resolving a stitch are as varied as the possible causes. As with any cramp, your first step should be a reduction in intensity. Slow down, even to a walk if necessary, breathing in deeply and exhaling slowly as you do so. If this doesn’t help, stop completely until the stitch dissipates. You can try stretching the affected side by bending gently into the side where you feel the stitch. As you do so, reach the opposite hand overhead. You can also try pressing your fingers gently into the affected area while you bend your torso slightly forward. Apply the most pressure while breathing out. A side stitch will usually resolve on its own within a few minutes or after you stop exercising. If it persists for several hours, even after you stop exercising, you may need to seek medical advice. LF
MOBILITY Optimise performance by improving...
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This combination of a more sedentary lifestyle, which is devoid of regular activity, has led to weak muscles and immobile joints, particularly in the areas essential to efficient, injury-free movement during exercise. When we make these wild swings from a state of inactivity to all-out intensity, we’re more likely to pick up a niggle or injury. Only then do we react by paying closer attention to our soft tissue and joint health. What we need instead is a proactive approach that helps to restore and maintain natural movement and function to muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia and joints to reduce our injury risk and boost our performance. The best way to achieve this is with a regular mobility and foam rolling regimen, along with an adequate pre-workout routine.
Activate before you participate
Forget static stretching that isolates individual muscles before a training session or race. We now know that the body functions as an integrated system, which means a dynamic warm-up that includes multi-joint movements and mobilises multiple joint structures is more effective. Dynamic mobility drills help to switch on neural pathways that prepare the body for the movements that follow. These drills can also ‘re-teach’ the body how to move more effectively. The key is to perform the correct mobilisation drills for your specific activity. There are, however, common areas we can all focus on, whether you’re a runner, cyclist or swimmer, to unlock and free the joints affected most by our modern lifestyles.
PHOTOS: Maxx Moticoe and Chritelle Rademan
Modern life is often a contrast of extremes – we either sit idle at a desk working hard for eight hours a day or we’re outside training intensely to push our boundaries and achieve our goals. This leaves little time for the in-between ‘stuff’, like regular movement throughout the day or a proper warmup that helps our body transition from its tight, chairmoulded form to an agile and efficient machine ready to go all out during a sprint or hill training session.
Forget stretching! Mobility and foam rolling are the best ways to reduce your injury risk
Walking lunge with overhead reach & rotation REPEAT 5 TIMES ON EACH LEG
Perform walking lunges. A) Each time your trailing knee drops down, reach your hands up over your head. B) With your arms raised, twist your torso to one side. C) Extend back up as you lower your arms and repeat with the other leg, then twist your torso to the other side. START:
Squat stands REPEAT 5 TIMES
From a standing position, A) bend over and grab your feet by your toes. Hold your toes as you drop your hips down into a deep squat. Push your chest through and up and pick up your head to maintain a neutral spine. B) Push out your knees to either side of your elbows. C) Drive your hips back up by straightening your knees. Drop your head as you do so. START:
Keep your heel flat on the ground throughout the movement.
Hip flexor stretch with kneeling dorsiflexion
PERFORM 5 THRUSTS ON EACH SIDE
START: Drop down into a halfkneeling position. Position the foot of your leading leg beyond your knee. A) Straighten the hip of your rear leg by pushing your hips forward. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds. B) From this split kneeling position, lean forward and drive your right knee over your toes. Pause for a second at the end of your range of movement, then return to the starting position and repeat. Repeat entire sequence with the other leg.
REPEAT 5 HUGS ON EACH LEG
Stand upright and brace your core. A) Drive one knee upward, grab it with both hands and gently hug it into your body. B) Place it back on the floor and repeat with the opposite leg as you step forward with each hug. Alternate this movement between legs. START:
Leg swing complex REPEAT 5 TIMES ON EACH LEG
High knee to single-leg deadlift REPEAT 5 TIMES ON EACH LEG
Stand with a hip-width stance and bent knees. A) Drive one knee up towards the torso while balancing on the other leg. B) Drive the raised knee backwards, under control and extend it behind you while you hinge at the hips to perform a single-leg deadlift. Tilt the torso forward until you achieve a table-top position. Keep the movement slow and smooth. Hold the table-top position for a count then repeat the movement sequence up to five times before switching legs. START:
Stand upright. Brace your core and shift your weight onto one leg. A) Swing your ‘free’ leg from side to side in front of you. START:
Next, swing your ‘free’ leg from front to back in a pendulum-like motion. Repeat 5-10 times before shifting to the other leg. Repeat the sequence. B)
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Adductor mobilisation REPEAT 5 TIMES BEFORE SWITCHING SIDES
Drop down onto your knees. Extend your right leg out into a half kneeling position. A) Move it out to the side, keeping the knee bent at a 90° angle to your hips. B) Drop your hips down to the right until you feel a stretch deep into your left groin. Repeat five times before switching sides. Move slowly and hold the stretch for a count in the bottom position. START:
By performing a mobility sequence you are preparing your muscles for the heavy compound moves, which is essential for muscle activation and avoiding injuries.
Inchworm REPEAT 5 TIMES
From an extended push-up position. A) Take tiny steps forward with your feet, keeping your legs locked out. B) Once you can’t take any more steps without flexing your knees or your legs are directly below your hips, walk your hands back out. START:
Between training sessions
Lying hip flexor stretch HOLD THE STRETCH FOR 30-60 SECONDS BEFORE SWITCHING SIDES
Lie on a bench or on a mat on the floor. Bend and raise one leg. A) Hold the inside of your upper shin over your knee and pull it toward your chest. B) Allow your lower thigh to drop toward the floor. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds before repeating with the opposite side. START:
Joint mobilisation also serves as an ideal standalone workout to improve mobility and flexibility, and actively resolve muscle tightness and movement inefficiencies. Thankfully, the right combination of drills will improve posture and correct joint alignment to ultimately help you move more naturally.
Adding foam rolling to the mix is ideal because it massages and improves soft tissue quality by releasing tension and smoothing out knots and adhesions in muscles, tendons and fascia.
Any tightness, adhesions or knots in one area can result in localised pain and can compromise the function of an entire movement chain. This often leads to compensation patterns and suboptimal performance, which raises your risk of injury. If left unaddressed, muscle tone changes over time and adhesions and scar tissue can build up, all of which affect your movement efficiency. As such, regular rolling sessions will help to keep your soft tissues in top shape. Perform this mobilisation routine periodically throughout the week as a standalone recovery session, or during work breaks or while watching TV at home. You can also break it up into 3 workouts of 5 moves to perform them all twice over a 6-day period.
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Couch stretch HOLD THE STRETCH FOR 60 SECONDS BEFORE SWITCHING SIDES
Back one bent leg up against a wall, box, bench or your couch. A) Position the trailing leg into the corner so that your shin is flush with the surface. B) Step the other leg forward into a lunge position, with the knee at 90Â°. C) Keep your glutes engaged as you drive the front of the hip toward the ground and lift your torso. Maintain this position for 60 seconds or more. Swap legs and repeat. START:
Hip flexor and TFL release ROLL FOR 30-60 SECONDS PER SIDE
Lie with the roller placed under the front part of your hip. A) Support your upper body by placing the elbow of the same side and the opposite hand and foot on the ground. B) Roll back and forth over the front portion of your hip. Roll for 30-60 seconds per side. Repeat the movement by placing the outer aspect of the hip – your tensor fascia latae (TFL) – on the foam roller. Repeat the forward and backward rolling movement over this area for 30-60 seconds per side. START:
Quadricep release ROLL FOR 30-60 SECONDS PER LEG
Lie on your stomach with the roller under the front of one thigh. A) Support your upper body, keeping it off the floor with your arms. B) Roll back and forth over the front of your thigh, keeping your knees extended.
You can release all the different quadricep muscles by changing the angle of your leg to also focus on the inner and outer aspects of the quad.
Hamstring release WORK YOUR WAY UP TO THE GLUTE-HAMSTRING JUNCTION
Sit on the roller with the back of your knee directly on the roller A) Slowly roll back and forth and slightly side to side to release any tight spots in the muscle. B) Work your way up to the glutehamstring junction. START:
Resting squat pose HOLD FOR AT LEAST 30 SECONDS
Start from a standing position. With your feet positioned about shoulder-width apart or a bit wider. A) Drop your hips down and sit back into a deep squat position. B) Keep your heels on the ground and drop your elbows inside your knees. Sit in this pose for at least 30 seconds at a time. START:
Gluteus and piriformis release ROLL FOR 30-60 SECONDS PER SIDE
Sit on a roller with one glute and your hands on the floor behind you. A) Lean your weight onto the gluteus muscle you are working. Place the opposite foot onto the knee of the leg you are sitting on. B) Roll back and forth on the piriformis muscle that you are sitting on for 30-60 seconds per leg, pausing on tight spots until they release. START:
Offset childâ€™s pose REPEAT 10 TIMES PER SIDE
Drop down onto all fours. your right knee ahead of your left, move your hips back to your heels 10 times in a rocking motion. Repeat on the other side. START: A) With
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Kneeling pose HOLD FOR 30-60 SECONDS
Kneel down and bring your knees and feet together. Sit back onto your heels. A) Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds before rising back up. Gradually increase the time you spend in this pose as your ankle, knee and hip mobility improves. START:
Mobility determines the force you can exert through a range of motion which is not to be confused with flexibility.
Half kneeling hip rotation REPEAT 3 TIMES BEFORE SWITCHING SIDES
Drop down into a half-kneeling position with your left knee on the floor. A) Rotate your left arm out to the side and upward and open up your chest. B) Hold this position for a count, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. START:
Adductor release ROLL FOR 30-60 SECONDS PER LEG
Lie on your stomach with the foam roller parallel to your body. A) Bend one hip and knee, placing your inner thigh on top of the roller. Place your elbows under your shoulder to manoeuvre yourself. B) Roll back and forth over the inside portion of your thighs. START:
Rocking ankle mobilisation REPEAT 10 TIMES PER LEG
In an extended push-up position, lift your hips and place your left shin over your right calf. A) Rock your hips back and forth to lift your right heel off the floor and back down again.
When you couple the weak ankle joint with the vigorous activity itâ€™s required to perform, itâ€™s no surprise that ankle sprains account for nearly 2 million injuries every year, or 20 percent of all sports injuries in the United States.
Calf release ROLL FOR 30-60 SECONDS PER LEG
START: Sit on the ground with your legs straight. A) Place one calf on top of a foam roller. B) Lift your hips
just off the floor with your arms and roll back and forth covering the full length of your calf muscle. Roll for 30-60 seconds per leg, pausing on tight spots.
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Iron cross REPEAT 5 TIMES PER LEG
Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides, perpendicular to your torso. A) Rotate your hips as you swing your right leg across your torso and up to your left hand. B) Return to the starting position and repeat the movement with the left leg. START:
Thoracic spine and glute release REPEAT 5 TIMES PER LEG
Lie down on your side with the foam roller placed next to you at hip height. A) Bend your top leg and place your knee on top of the roller. B) With your supporting arm extended perpendicular to your body and the hand of your upper arm behind your head, rotate your torso away from the roller. C) Rotate as far as possible without your knee lifting off the roller. Hold the stretch for a count before rotating back to the starting position. LF START:
BENEFITS OF FOAM ROLLING:
Decreases tone in overactive muscles. Improves mobility and range of motion. Improves movement quality. Lowers injury risk. Improves recovery and performance.
Help soothe tight, sore areas and speed up muscle recovery.
PERFORMANCE FUELLING UNCOVERING THE HIGHEST OCTANE ENERGY SOURCE FOR ATHLETES LOVING LIQUIDS “AT REALLY HIGH INTENSITIES, BREATHING ALSO BECOMES EXTREMELY LABOURED, SO CHEWING AND SWALLOWING CAN PROVE DIFFICULT.”
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The latest nutrition and supplement update for endurance athletes was published last year in the journal Nutrients. The meta-analysis reviewed current evidence concerning macronutrient intakes, hydration requirements and supplement use in endurance sports, and confirmed that athletes who train or race for more than 60 minutes will benefit from ingesting carbohydrates during the activity. The research also confirmed that active fuelling requirements to optimise glycogen replenishment for events lasting 60 minutes to 2.5 hours was 30–60g of carbohydrates per hour, while athletes who exercise for 2.5 hours or more should aim for 60–70g/hour. With these guidelines in place, your next decision as an athlete is how best to get in those carbderived calories while you’re training or racing.
Facing the scientific facts
Supplementing your intake
Factors such as carbohydrate sources, ingestion, gastric emptying and absorption rates, and doses all influence our tolerance and comfort when fuelling during exercise. While we can get this energy from whole foods, it’s not convenient to carry potatoes, bananas or other popular options with you during a training session or race. Solid food sources also require mechanical digestion, which becomes compromised during intense activity due to peripheral blood flow – our muscles require more blood during intense, prolonged efforts, which leaves little available for the digestive system to function optimally. The amount of digestive enzymes, fluids and time required to break down solid food into its constituent elements can also cause bloating, nausea and lethargy. Thankfully, innovative supplement manufacturers offer athletes conveniently packaged, highly bioavailable and concentrated energy in the form of gels, bars, tablets and drinks. The question many athletes may have is, which is best?
What we know is that different carbohydrate sources ingested during exercise are utilised at different rates, because glucose, sucrose and fructose use different transport mechanisms. As such, intestinal absorption rates differ, with studies confirming that a combination of sources that target multiple transport pathways results in better utilisation rates than single-source products. In general, most research indicates that all carbohydrate forms are equally effective in improving performance. One such study from a highly respected research team in the field of endurance nutrition (Pfeiffer, Stellingwerff, Zaltas and Jeukendrup) determined that athletes could achieve these optimal oxidation rates using either beverages, gels or low-fat, low-protein, low-fibre energy bars. Additional supporting research is, however, mixed. A different study, published in 2017 in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, looked at how solid, gel, liquid and mixed
carbohydrate formats affect gut comfort and performance during intense cycling performance. The researchers found that peak power was reduced following bar ingestion compared to gels, but no clear difference was witnessed between the drinks, gels and the mixed approach. Bars also produced smallto-moderate standardised increases in nausea, stomach fullness, abdominal cramps and perceived exertion, relative to gels and drinks. The mixed approach also increased nausea relative to gels. Based on these results, the researchers concluded that: “Relative to a
gel, carbohydrate bar ingestion reduced peak power, gut comfort, and ease of exertion; furthermore no clear difference relative to drink suggests bars alone are the less favourable exogenouscarbohydrate energy source for intense endurance performance.” Endurance 111
Finding the right balance Making the decision
While it’s worth noting that the quality of carbohydrate sources may vary between supplement brands, if all products are equal it seems that liquid nutrition is often the most convenient, precise and least risky way to get energy to working muscles. The general consensus among the endurance community is that a predominantly liquid-based fuelling strategy is best, augmented with gels and bars in a mixed approach, depending on the type of event, its duration and your individual response in terms of digestive comfort. Considerations in this regard should include your ability to ingest your preferred fuel, particularly as the intensity of your race or training session increases. At really high intensities, breathing also becomes extremely laboured, so athletes may want to consider a liquid feed during the latter stages of an event because chewing and swallowing can prove difficult. During longer sessions or ultra-endurance races, occasional solid food feeds also offer a change in texture and taste profile, which can break the monotony of liquid feeds and can ensure that athletes meet their energy requirements. Solid carb sources are also relatively easy to carry as they easily fit into pockets or carry belts.
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“The rate of fluid absorption is closely related to the carbohydrate content of the drink with high carbohydrate concentrations compromising fluid delivery, although multiple transportable carbohydrates can remove some of this impaired fluid delivery. In all cases, a drink should contain sodium (10–30 mmol·L−1) (Maughan, 1998) for optimal fluid absorption and prevention of hyponatraemia.”
It seems it’s ultimately a matter of individual preference. There are, however, caveats to consider when committing to a liquidonly or blended approach. In his research paper titled “Nutrition for endurance sports: Marathon, triathlon, and road cycling”, respected sports scientist Asker E. Jeukendrup highlights the need to balance hydration and energy requirements. Energy drinks with a very high osmolality (the amount of dissolved substances the solution contains) also seem to account for many gastrointestinal complaints among athletes. And athletes must also remember that optimal carbohydrate absorption in the gut requires water, so always consume a gel, bar or tablet together with some water to reduce your risk of gastrointestinal discomfort.
WHILE WE CAN GET THIS ENERGY FROM WHOLE FOODS, IT’S NOT CONVENIENT TO CARRY POTATOES, BANANAS OR OTHER POPULAR OPTIONS WITH YOU DURING A TRAINING SESSION OR RACE.
Test and refine your approach
Given the complexity and individual difference in responses, it is vital that athletes trial and test their preferred fuelling protocol before major events, especially when attempting higher hourly intakes. Practising your fuelling plan at race intensities is also an important step to gauge tolerability and the impact a blended approach might have on digestive comfort. While there is limited science to support the theory, many athletes and coaches believe you can also train your gut to tolerate a specific fuelling strategy or higher carbohydrate intakes. This may require periods of higher carbohydrate intakes throughout the day and not just during training. LF
ENDURANCE SUPPLEMENT GUIDE FOR SHORTDURATION, HIGH-INTENSITY EVENTS: Gels, tablets and liquid carb energy drinks.
LOWERINTENSITY, PROLONGED EVENTS: Bars that contain low-glycaemic index carb sources, blended energy drinks and gels for later in the race when chewing is not possible.
ULTRAENDURANCE EVENTS: A combination of solid and liquid energy sources is best, with more easily digested sources reserved for later-stage consumption to compensate for the blood pooling effect in the legs.
*Might not be available in all stores.
ometimes life deals you a poor hand. While some people choose to fold their cards and wallow in pity about their bad luck, others stay in the game, playing the cards they’re dealt as best they can. When Alwyn Uys regained consciousness on the side of the road after his car had rolled, he knew his life would never be the same again. “It happened on Friday, 13 December 2014. I looked down for a second and the front wheel went off the road and hit some sand. I lost control and was ejected from the car. I broke my
shoulder, ribs, femur, back and neck.” He woke up some time later, lying on the tar feeling cold and numb. “Everything was blurry but I could make out a figure standing over me telling me to lay still. I tried to get up, but I felt nothing except a fiery pain throughout my body.” The accident had shattered Alwyn’s T7 and T8 vertebrae. He was paralysed from the chest down. “People always say that life can change in an instant, but you only realise the truth in that statement when something like this happens to you.”
”LIFE IS TOO FRAGILE TO NOT GO AFTER THE THINGS YOU WANT AND ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS.”
UNBRO 114 Dis-Chem Living Fit
A bright future
Before that fateful day, Alwyn had revelled in an active lifestyle and excelled in various sports. “I grew up on a farm in the Eastern Cape. I loved the outdoors and was always riding horses, climbing rocks, jumping off cliffs into rivers and playing sports.” He would later play rugby for the Maties first team and the Sharks u/19 Academy. He even had dreams of playing for the Springboks.
But that all changed after the accident. “One day I could do everything for myself and the next day my best friend had to feed me because I couldn’t do anything.” Alwyn spent three months in rehab, which he describes as one of the most challenging experiences of his life. However, things only got worse when he finally left. “When I got home I felt like a stranger in my own house. It wasn’t the same anymore because I couldn’t do the things I previously did.”
So much to live for
Unable to work, Alwyn became bored and frustrated. “I didn’t know what to do with myself. That’s when the depression set in. I began to think about ending my struggle and I came close one day after I broke down and couldn’t handle it anymore.” But he couldn’t. “I realised that if I did, it would be the end of my story and that’s what people would remember about me – that I wasn’t strong enough to deal with it; that I couldn’t do it. That’s when I resolved to at least try, and to find out what comes after the accident.” Alwyn chose to focus on and appreciate what he still had left, not on what he’d lost. “I just took it one day at a time and stopped wasting my life away.”
Freedom in independence
He quickly learnt to drive again and within four months of the accident he was back on the road and regained some of his previous independence. “It’s about adapting. When bad things happen we tend to think too much and
"I HAVE FOUND POWER IN MY PAIN"
emotions cloud our approach. We overthink situations and keep living in the past, holding onto how we used to do things.” Instead, Alwyn chooses to focus on doing everything differently, like driving. “I can still drive,
it’s just a lot different now. These things happen in life, but if you can’t change your mindset or the way you think about overcoming your challenges and circumstances, then you won’t move forward and you’ll never conquer anything. You have to learn and adapt to overcome.” Chasing big dreams
And adapting to his new circumstances as best he can has instilled in Alwyn a positive attitude and mindset that gives him the courage to pursue his dreams and ambitions – even those he held before his accident. He always wanted to complete an Ironman triathlon – a 3.8km swim, a 180km cycle and 42.2km run – as an able-bodied athlete, but after ending up in a wheelchair his resolve to achieve that ambition burnt more fiercely than ever. 116 Dis-Chem Living Fit
“When you go through something that shakes you to your core, you realise that life is too fragile to not go after the things you want and achieve your dreams.”
That’s why he doggedly chases after his endurance sport ambitions and why he shares his life lessons and experiences with whomever wants to watch his YouTube channel. “I believe that seeing someone living out their passion can inspire you to do the same. It’s also very fulfilling to live out your passion and give life a go – going all-in to turn thoughts into reality and realise a dream. Even if you fail, at least you had the courage to give it a try.” This positive outlook on life has helped Alwyn achieve seemingly impossible feats. Three years after his accident, he won gold in the time trial and road events in the H3 wheelchair category at the South African Para-Cycling Championships in Oudtshoorn, and also competed at the 2017 Para-Cycling World Cup. A few years later, in 2019, he rolled down the red carpet at the Ironman 70.3 Durban, becoming the first South African paraplegic to successfully complete the daunting endurance challenge by swimming 1.9km in the open ocean, cycling
“The mountains that are placed before us aren’t meant to defeat us, they are meant to be conquered.” 90km with a recumbent hand-crank bicycle and completing the 21.1km run leg in a racing wheelchair.
Battling a headwind
ALWYN’S SUPPLEMENT STACK:
A bigger challenge
That experience served to deepen his resolve to chase an even bigger challenge – the full-distance event at Ironman South Africa, which takes place in Nelson Mandela Bay on 29 March 2020. As part of his preparations to achieve his ultimate goal, Alwyn recently competed in the Ironman 70.3 Buffalo City race, held in East London in January. It was a challenging day, with gusting winds greeting triathletes on the morning of 26 January. “I felt great on the day and all my preparations had gone to plan,” shares Alwyn. But the wind kicked up the waves, making it a choppy swim. While conditions were rough, Alwyn exited the water in 53 minutes, which is well ahead of the cut-off. “I was happy with my swim as I managed to exit the water after covering 1,950m, which was just 50m over the official race distance. That meant I was strong enough to fight the chop and swim an efficient line.” That will be vital in Nelson Mandela Bay, explains Alwyn, as you don’t want to swim an extra 400m over the 3.8km course. “It’s so important to conserve as much energy as possible in the water.”
Biogen Plant-Based Protein
Biogen Electrolyte tabs
Biogen Real Energy Gels
Biogen Daily Wellness Vitamin Pack
The bike leg proved to be his biggest challenge on the day, though. The out-and-back bike course meant the athletes battled a headwind for the first 45km section, on what is already a hilly route. “It’s not billed as one of the toughest 70.3 races on the planet for nothing,” states Alwyn. And East London certainly lived up to its reputation on race day. The cycle leg, which Alwyn completes on a hand-crank recumbent bike, is his hardest discipline as he cannot generate the same power output that able-bodied athletes can crank out from their bigger and stronger leg muscles. “Despite being a full hour faster on the return leg, I missed the T2 cut-off by eight minutes and wasn’t allowed to continue onto the run course. That was disappointing because that’s my strongest discipline as the racing wheelchair is really fast.”
A learning experience
Despite not finishing, Alwyn isn’t dwelling on the negatives. “Ultimately, you can’t control the conditions. You can only do your best, which I feel I did on the day, in those conditions. I surprised myself with how hard I can actually push my body and mind, especially during the climbing and against those winds on the bike route.” Alwyn is determined to return to the race and put in a similar performance in better conditions. “With less wind, I will definitely improve and post a seriously good time for the wheelchair class.” Despite not making it onto the run course, Alwyn got an opportunity to test and fine-tune his race nutrition, which he has been working on with his nutritionist and coach. Endurance 117
PURPOSE IMSA - Port Elizabeth
“Whatever happens, it will be an emotional and special race for me because I will do the Ironman in the city where the accident took place,”
“I tried a new fuelling strategy in East London, which worked really well. I kept to the plan and when I got off the bike I was ready for the run, despite the conditions.” Alwyn aims to use a similar plan for Ironman South Africa, but intends to add a few solid food meals to break up the gels and energy drinks. “I used Biogen Real Energy Gels and Biogen Carbogen at the 70.3, in addition to Biogen Electrolyte tabs to boost my sodium intake. This worked well and is a solid base on which to build leading up to Ironman.”
Climbing metaphorical mountains
With a mere eight weeks between the two races, Alwyn plans to focus his training on the areas he feels will yield the most productive results. “While I will increase my swimming mileage to limit how much time I lose in the water and back off a bit on the run training due to the flatter course in PE, there is only so much training I can do in that time.” 118 Dis-Chem Living Fit
Instead, Alwyn plans to place the greatest focus on his nutritional approach. “I can always improve on my diet by making conscious and considered lifestyle choices every day in the lead up to the race. That way, I’ll get the best out of whatever training is left.” No matter the outcome on 29 March, Alwyn has endured the ultimate test in life and won. He has emerged from his ordeal and is a physically and mentally stronger person, and he hopes to share his lessons and experiences with the world. “Whatever happens, it will be an emotional and special race for me because I will do the Ironman in the city where the accident took place,” he says. “But my strength comes from that accident and my resultant brokenness. I have found power in my pain. My love for sport has kept me going. It was a long process but it comes down to what you love and finding a way around your circumstances.” Alwyn believes a similar mindset can help us conquer the mountains we all face in our lives.
“Some may seem intimidating and impossible to climb. Some of us may spend years staring at our mountains before we gain the confidence to tackle them. But the mountains that are placed before us aren’t meant to defeat us, they are meant to be conquered. They can teach us something that will help us grow, and there is always a way up – a path to the top. We just need to find the courage within ourselves to start our journey. You may feel alone in your endeavour, but once you start you’ll find others who are climbing the very same mountain. Your mountain can be conquered.” LF
Coach’s corner With Mark Wolff and Landie Greyling, running coaches and competitive athletes.
TRANSITIONING TO ULTRA-DISTANCE RUNNING F
or most runners, the ultimate test of endurance is the marathon – a 42.2km foot race that requires the perfect blend of speed and endurance to master. To illustrate the race’s popularity, the Marathon Statistics 2019 Worldwide report revealed that 1,298,725 runners completed a marathon in 2018, with marathon participation growing 49.43% between 2008 and 2018. But as more athletes master this distance, many look beyond 42km for their next challenge, which is something that South Africa’s unique breed of runners have done for decades.
Rich ultra-running heritage
The country has a rich ultrarunning heritage, boasting two of the most iconic road ultras on earth – the Two Oceans and the legendary Comrades ultramarathons. First run in 1921, Comrades is the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon. It is the pinnacle race for almost every passionate South African runner. But for anyone who has successfully finished a marathon, 120 Dis-Chem Living Fit
the thought of running even 100m more can seem unfathomable, let along another marathon, and then a Parkrun to finish. Yes, the Comrades marathon covers a minimum distance of 87km on the ‘up’ run. The ‘down’ run is 91km. While the challenge has captivated the hearts and minds of 24,000 entrants for the 2020 event, many novices are probably wondering how they can successfully make the transition from the marathon to an extreme endurance event like Comrades.
that include lots of back-to-back long runs.” Having trained for a marathon, you’ll have a solid base from which to build. “Aim to increase your volume by roughly 10% every week, with an active recovery week included periodically,” says Landie, who prefers a three-week up, one-week down structure. Back-to-back training runs should also get progressively longer.
FIRST RUN IN 1921, COMRADES “Running 20km on Conditioning the IS THE WORLD’S Saturday and 25mind and body OLDEST AND 30km on Sunday, Landie Greyling, a BiogenLARGEST sponsored elite ultra-runner ULTRAMARATHON. for example, is what and running coach, succinctly conditions the body summarises the different It is the and mind to run on training approaches required. pinnacle tired legs.” Where marathoners require race for Landie recommends a balance between speed and almost every building up to a maximum endurance, Landie says ultrapassionate long run of 75% of race runners need to condition their legs for running when they’re South African distance, which you should ideally perform 4-6 weeks tired. runner. before race day. “This requires intelligent That equates to 42-45km program periodisation, for Two Oceans runners, with training blocks and roughly 60-70km for
a Comrades runner, depending on their training history and fitness level.
Don’t neglect strength work
Landie is also a firm believer in the benefits of strength training for runners, especially ultra-runners.
“Strength training reduces injury risk, and also creates more efficient runners as you have the core strength to keep you upright. This is vital over longer distances because runners can hold their form for longer, which pushes out the point when fatigue sets in.” Where marathon runners might perform 1-2 gym sessions a week, Landie recommends 2-3 strength training and 3-4 core sessions a week for ultra-runners.
Train hard, recover harder
And in this world of more – more kilometres, more climbing, more training sessions – it’s easy to get carried away. But beware. Your body needs rest to recover and respond to the training. Without it you’ll literally run yourself into the ground. “Rest and recovery complete your ultra-distance training puzzle. It’s only when you rest that your muscles can adapt to the training.” This doesn’t mean sitting on the couch, though. Active recovery helps your body bounce back sooner. This should include hot-
Acclimate to the racing conditions
ultrarunners need to condition their legs for running when they’re tired. Landie Greyling
Mark Wolff , endurance coach and founder of the 32Gi supplement brand, highlights that ultra-marathons, particularly extreme events like Comrades, extend into the midday and afternoon heat.
“Runners need to acclimate themselves to these conditions by performing a few long sessions in the late morning, midday and afternoon.” Training on terrain that mimics the route is also beneficial so runners feel comfortable on the long climbs of the Comrades up run, or can handle the punishing downhill sections on the down run.
“Rest and recovery complete your ultra-distance training puzzle. It’s only when you rest that your muscles can adapt to the training.” Endurance 121
Food for thought
cold contrasting, foam rolling, mobility drills, stretching, massages and sleep. Mark adds that managing inflammation should also be a key focus. “High-
volume training moves the body into a proinflammatory state, which is characterised by elevated C-reactive protein levels.”
The body’s immune system works overtime to rein in this systemic inflammation, which can make runners more susceptible to infections and illness. “Supporting immune system function is, therefore, vital. Research shows that adequate vitamin D levels are crucial for a strong adaptive immune system,” adds Mark. The other key aspect to optimal immunity is adequate sleep. “Get at least 7-9 hours a night. That could mean sacrificing some training time to sleep in when required by those who run in the early morning.”
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The other vital element in an optimal recovery plan is solid nutrition. Mark says the postexercise recovery meal is vital for recovery, more so than breakfast. “Your training session’s duration and intensity will determine your ideal approach to post-workout recovery. Shorter, more intense sessions require more glycogen from carbs, compared to a longer or easy run. As such, you should adjust your carb intake based on your session to maintain adequate glycogen levels for your subsequent training.” Finding the balance is key to ensure you don’t overdo it, as this increases your propensity to gain weight and can blunt your insulin response, elaborates Mark.
“Under-dosing will also leave you flat and unable to perform optimally at your next session. Everyone should eat or drink some easily-digestible carbs after training, even those who follow a ketogenic diet.” The key to balancing your carb intake is to manage the insulin spike and glucose response. Mark recommends smaller meals to spread your carb intake and support fat metabolism. The other key aspect is your protein intake. “I work on 1.4g/kg and spread this allocation throughout the day. This may increase to 1.6-1.7g/ kg for those who need to add more lean muscle, or to accommodate extra strength and/or intensity work.” Mark believes a micro-dosing approach works best because the body can only effectively process and absorb around 8-9g/hour of protein.
Support nutritional needs with supplements While natural whole foods should form the foundation of an ultra-runner’s dietary approach, well-formulated supplements can help to meet their increased nutritional demands.
“BCAAs are crucial for recovery, particularly leucine because it’s the anabolic trigger. Science suggests that the body ideally requires 2-3g of leucine to drive muscle repair and growth. BCAA supplements that offer a 2:1:1 ratio are ideal.”
Mark recommends checking your protein shake label to ensure it contains sufficient leucine. “Add a suitable BCAA product if it doesn’t, otherwise it may take longer to recover. You can also include glutamine to aid recovery and improve alkalinity.” Heavy training loads also strain connective tissue, so Mark suggests adding vitamin C to boost type-2 collagen production to aid ligament and tendon repair. “Magnesium is also important, not just for cramping but for better sleep as it calms the nervous system, and may help to ease stomach and digestive issues.” LF
RACE RESULTS: 116KM SUPER CLASSIC MEN: DUSTY DAY (BARZANI PRO CYCLING): 2:34:14
2020 DIS-CHEM RIDE FOR SIGHT EVENT REVIEW
ore than 4,500 cyclists descended on City Stadium in Boksburg on 16 February 2020 for the annual Dis-Chem Ride for Sight cycle race.
The event, proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni, offers cyclists an opportunity to finetune their preparations in the build-up to the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March, and serves as a seeding event for the 2021 Cycle Tour. The race also gives cyclists a chance to ride with purpose as all proceeds go directly to Retina SA to help find cures for retinal genetic blindness. Retina South Africa is the only NPO in South Africa funding treatments for genetic vision loss.
RACE DAY DAWNS
The 32nd edition of this iconic road cycling event got under way at 06:15am as the 116km
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Super Classic riders rolled off the start line, with the 62km vitathion Challenge riders following soon after. A relatively flat and fast route offered riders ideal racing conditions, with partial road closure at critical points, reputable marshalling and a dual carriageway for a large portion of the route ensuring a safe environment for all participants. Riders were ably supported on the route, with five well-stocked water points and more than 350 volunteer helpers, and roving sweeper vehicles with spares and first-aiders on board. Hamnet Emergency Communications ensured firstresponders were on site within minutes following any potential incidents. Riders also had immediate access to the JOC via the My SOS App.
WOMEN: KIM LE COURT DE BILLOT (DEMACON): 3:18:24 MEN’S TANDEM: DEWALD MALAN AND KELVIN JOHNSON 62KM VITA-THION CHALLENGE THE FIRST TWO TEAMS IN THE DISABLED TANDEM CATEGORY, THE OVERALL WINNER OF THE 62KM EVENT, AND THE FIRST THREE RIDERS IN THE U/19 JUNIOR LADIES, AND U/15 AND U/17 BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ CATEGORIES EACH RECEIVED BIOGEN ENDURANCE SUPPLEMENT HAMPERS.
RIDING FOR A CAUSE
Dis-Chem Director, Stan Goetsch, thanked the City of Ekurhuleni for hosting the event, and the co-sponsors, volunteers, traffic officials and all the cyclists who support this popular race. The event has raised more than R10m during its 32-year history to fund treatments for retinal genetic blindness, and participants once again showed immense generosity. All contributions towards the event donation draw were matched by the Dis-Chem Foundation, which helped to raise a total of R63,680. Those who contributed so generously stood a chance to win fantastic prizes in the donation draw, with a KTM Revelator 3500 Road Bike (valued at R33,000) or package holiday for 2 at Michamvi Sunset Bay Resort in Zanzibar on offer.
2020 RUNNING SEASON OFF TO MEMORABLE START RACE RESULTS: MEN 1.PHILANI BUTHELEZI (MURRAY & ROBERTS RUNNING CLUB): 1:08:11. 2.SIBUSISO NZIMA (NEDBANK RUNNING CLUB): 01:08:42 3.JUAN VAN DEVENTER (NEDBANK RUNNING CLUB): 01:08:53 WOMEN: 1.CHRIZELL ROBERTS (NEDBANK RUNNING CLUB): 1:25:27 2.YOLANDE MACLEAN (MURRAY & ROBERTS RUNNING CLUB): 01:25:37 3.ALEXANDRA STUARTSMITH (MURRAY & ROBERTS RUNNING CLUB): 01:25:56
auteng runners were eager to lay down an early-season mark at the 2020 Dis-Chem Half Marathon, held on 12 January 2020.
the route providing refreshments and spirited encouragement, while controlling traffic to ensure everyone’s safety.
A RESOUNDING SUCCESS
The event also raised money for two worthy causes. Generous entrants donated more than R31,000 for the Lambano Sanctuary for orphaned children with HIV, and the Namaqua Dogs & Donkey Foundation. The Dis-Chem Foundation matched these amounts, enabling event organisers to hand over cheques for R34,100 and R27,580 to representatives from the respective organisations during prize-giving.
Now in its 19th year with DisChem Pharmacies as the title sponsor, the event continues to go from strength to strength, with entries once again selling out within weeks. Having reached capacity with 6,500 21km race entrants and 1,850 for the Centrum 5km Dash, race day dawned boasting perfect weather conditions.
A SERIOUS TEST
What lay ahead for the halfmarathoners was a challenging yet picturesque route through the East Rand suburbs of Bedfordview, Morninghill and Primrose. Rolling undulations in the first half allowed runners to warm up ahead of the infamous climb over Primrose Hill, which crests at 18km and heralds the fast downhill run-in to the finish. As always, the event was expertly managed, with volunteers and officials at more than 63 points along
RUNNING HARD, DOING GOOD
MORE THAN JUST A RACE
The fun continued at the finish venue at Bedfordview Country Club, where Transact provided free physio treatments and massages, and Virgin Active’s on-stage aerobics workouts kept the crowd moving. Those who stayed for prize-giving stood a chance to win more than 70 spot prizes, and Tshepiso “CrazyT” Malapane managed a recordsmashing 232 squats in 3 minutes during a Guinness World Record attempt! LF Endurance 125
DON’T I BURN THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS!
N AN EFFORT TO MANAGE CONDITIONS LIKE OVERTRAINING AND REDUCE OUR INJURY RISK FROM EXCESSIVE EXERCISE, WE TEND TO DISPROPORTIONATELY FOCUS ON MANAGING OUR TRAINING VOLUME AND INTENSITY.
Seldom do we consider that overtraining can just as easily be explained as a condition caused by under-recovery rather than too much exercise. But it’s not just the physiological stress that exercise imposes on the body that poses a risk. Psychological stress can also have a major impact on our ability to fully recover.
THE STRESS RESPONSE We are all exposed to varying types and degrees of stress and the way our bodies respond to these stressors, be it physical stress from training, mental stress from work or emotional stress in our personal lives, which all manifest in the same way – they affect the same bodily systems, particularly our nervous and hormonal (endocrine) systems. To be more specific, heavy training, a stressful job, biomechanical dysfunction from extended periods of
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sitting and inactivity, diet-induced stress, pollution and life stress all interact and can break down various bodily systems. As far as our bodies are concerned, stress is stress. Unfortunately many of us fail to understand this interrelationship as we tend to compartmentalise stress into different categories and fall into the trap of thinking that physical stress is separate from psychological stress and one cannot affect the other.
IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD Well, if recent research is to be believed, your psychological state may limit your ability to recover between training sessions, more so than actions aimed at improving recovery. This lends credence to the idea that overtraining can be caused by under-recovery, as much as it’s caused by excessive training.
The role of recovery As you’ll commonly read or hear, gains in fitness, strength and muscle are not made during your training, but rather between sessions when your body rebuilds itself through a cascade of hormonally-mediated processes. These processes repair the damage that naturally occurs to muscles and connective tissue during physical activity and drive the physiological and metabolic adaptations that happen in response to hard training. The recovery process also replenishes depleted energy stores, such as glycogen in muscle cells, and aims to return the body to a state of homoeostasis (balance)
However, most of these factors affect us between training sessions, during our recovery Accumulated and not necessarily during stress the training itself (although, high stress levels can certainly When you lurch from impact on the quality of a training one stressful situation session). The most prominent of – a hard training these factors is chronic stress session, for example – and our emotional state. to another – a highFor example, consider the findings pressured afternoon from a 2009 study conducted in the office or by Samuele Marcora, director of working late into the research at the School of night on deadline THE RESEARCH Sport and Exercise Sciences – you heap SHOWED THAT psychological at England’s University MENTAL FATIGUE stress onto the of Kent, titled “Mental CAN HAVE Fatigue Impairs Physical physical stress NEARLY AS Performance in Humans” and you’ve imposed published in the Journal of MUCH IMPACT on your body, all Applied Physiology. ON ATHLETIC at a time when you The research team showed PERFORMANCE should be giving that mental fatigue can your body every AS MUSCLE have nearly as much impact EXHAUSTION. opportunity to on athletic performance repair and recover. as muscle exhaustion. The This is what is theory, which Marcora commonly termed calls the psychobiological “burning the candle model of exercise tolerance, at both ends” as the expands on Tim Noakes’s psychological stress central governor theory by of work commitments, combining psychology with or even the emotional biology and physiology. stress of strained personal relationships
between family or friends, as another example, hamper your recovery and adaptations. This has been corroborated in numerous studies, including a metaanalysis published in the journal Sports Medicine, which found that athletes are most likely to sustain physical injuries during times when psychological and/or social stress is high. The team of Swedish researchers, led by Andreas Ivarsson from the Center of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport at Halmstad University in Sweden, sought to examine the effect of relationships between psychosocial variables and injury rates, and the effects of psychological interventions aimed at reducing or preventing injury. Endurance 127
The study findings were published in 2016 and showed that “stress responses and history of stressors had the strongest associations with injury rates”. The researchers concluded that the results “support the model’s suggestion that psychosocial variables, as well as psychologicallybased interventions, can influence injury risk among athletes”.
Adding further support to this theory is the effect that stress has on immune system function. Whether it’s repairing damage from a hard session on the track or a wound from surgery, the immune system is primarily responsible for fulfilling these important biological tasks. Accordingly, if high levels of chronic stress impede recovery from wounds, then it can certainly blunt your body’s adaptive response to exerciseinduced damaged. To corroborate this stance, a study published in Immunology And Allergy Clinics of North America in 2011 by Jean-Philippe Gouina and Janice K. Kiecolt-Glasera showed that psychological stress can modulate wound healing processes. In the paper, the researchers explain that: “Substantial
evidence from animal and human studies indicates that physiological stress responses can retard the initial inflammatory phase of wound healing.” Accordingly,
they state that psychological stress can have a substantial and clinically relevant impact on wound repair. This immunosuppression is also the reason why athletes tend to get sick during periods of heavy training load and/or highly stressful life situations. 128 Dis-Chem Living Fit
MANAGING STRESS It is highly beneficial to manage psychological stress levels during the recovery period, particularly 24-48 hours after intense training sessions or races or competitions. Conversely, this also means skipping hard sessions during times of high psychological or emotional
stress, the nature of which makes it hard to predict or control, can be beneficial. As such, athletes who steadfastly stick to a training program with little consideration for the external factors that can affect their performance and recovery tend to find themselves in an overtrained (or underrecovered) state or, worse, injured.
PRACTICAL TIPS TO HELP YOU BALANCE PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS TO MAXIMISE YOUR RECOVERY POTENTIAL INCLUDE:
Use light, easy exercise as a means to de-stress during periods of heightened work stress or periods of emotional stress. Minimise all forms of stress after hard sessions or races for at least 48 hours afterwards. Try to avoid highly stressed people, situations and environments.
Be flexible with you program and don’t chase targets at all costs. Don’t push through feelings of chronic fatigue and tiredness.
Find additional ways to deal with life stress by disconnecting. Examples include yoga, reading, socialising with friends or meditating. Eat a well-balanced diet composed predominantly of whole, natural foods. Avoid added sugar, alcohol, tobacco and stimulants. LF
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