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In this first of a series of blog posts on nutrition, we will be begin to explore the three main food groups (also known as macronutrients). We will examine what they are, why the body needs them, and the implications for your everyday eating habits.

Today we are going to start with carbohydrates - the hardest food type to avoid, and commonly misunderstood.

So - what are carbohydrates?  Well, in chemical terms,  carbohydrates (CHO) are molecules which contain a combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

There are two main types of carbohydrate.  Simple carbohydrates, also known as sugars, are single units of glucose or fructose (C6H12O6) which have a ring like structure .  Complex carbohydrates, also known as starches, are polymers, or chains, of several sugar units stitched together. Complex carbohydrates are found in potato, bread, pasta, rice etc.  Simple carbohydrates are found in sugar, honey, fruit etc.

Regardless of whether a carbohydrate starts off as complex or simple when it enters the mouth, the digestive process converts all carbohydrates into glucose so that it can be absorbed by the body.

Digestion of carbohydrates begins as soon as the food enters the mouth. As we chew, enzymes in our saliva start the job of breaking down the carbohydrate molecules.

The process continues in the stomach, where the sugar is absorbed into our bloodstream.  If this sugar is not used fully by the body for energy during a short space of time (for example to fuel exercise), then it has to be stored somewhere in the body.

The body will firstly turn the spare glucose into glycogen, a process which involves the retention of a large amount of water. The glycogen is stored in your muscles and liver.  If your glycogen stores are full, you will look puffier (often noticeable in the face) largely due to the water retention.

If your glycogen stores are full, the body has to store the glucose in some other way.  This is when any surplus glucose will be converted into fat.

Most of the fat on our bodies is created this way, not from the direct consumption of fat in our diet. This is a crucial point to understand, as it is the reason why “low fat” products do not help us lose weight.

The same process happens in reverse when we lose weight.  We will burn off our glycogen stores first, then once these are empty we will start to burn fat for energy. However, emptying your glycogen stores is harder than you may realise. If they are completely full to begin with, it can take the equivalent of an entire half-marathon to completely deplete your glycogen. So for most people, in reality the aim is to gradually deplete the stores over a the course of a number of days.  In a typical scenario of sensible eating and exercise at a sustainable level, it may take around a week to get to the point where your glycogen stores are depleted and you start burning significant amounts of fat. However, you will actually lose more weight in that first week than in the following weeks. As you use up the glycogen, you will be releasing all the water stored with it, resulting in dramatic initial weight loss.

In general, the less processed the carbohydrate, and the more fibre and fat also contained within the foodstuff, the longer the process of digestion takes, and the more gradually the energy is released into our bloodstream. This makes it more likely that you will burn the energy released as you go along, avoiding the storage of excess energy as fat.

So how much carbohydrate should we consume? Well, it is definitely not healthy to eliminate carbohydrate altogether, or go on an extreme low-carb diet, such as Atkins, for a number of reasons.

  1. Our brain needs carbohydrate for fuel – carbohydrate is the only form of energy that the brain can use.
  2. Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame. Without the presence of some carbohydrate in your diet, your metabolism slows down and the body is not able to process fat as effectively.
  3. Lots of nutrient-packed foods, such as fruit, contain mainly carbohydrate, so if we avoided all these foods we would be limiting our intake of important vitamins and minerals.
  4. Variety is positive.  Healthy nutritional habits will only be sustained if they are enjoyable and do not become too monotonous.

So which carbohydrate foods should you use as your main source of carbohydrates, and which should you avoid?

In our next nutrition blog post, we'll recommend which carbohydrate dense foods to eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, in your diet.  In their place, we will be introducing you too a whole host of more colourful alternatives!

 
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Wow! It has been an amazing year for the JB Personal Training community! As it draws to a close, Jules and Shona would like to thank all our loyal customers for their fantastic support throughout 2013. Here's a reminder of some of your fantastic achievements over the last 12 months!


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January:  2013 kicks-starts with the return of JBPT Ultrabox

2013 got off to an explosive start with the return of our hugely popular Ultrabox class! There is no better way to let off steam after a day in the office! Join the fun in 2014 with our growing range of both early morning and evening fitness classes in Swindon.


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February:  First winter Couch to 5K group completes first 5K at Parkrun Swindon

Our first ever winter Couch to 5K group showed tremendous determination to complete their training, with the occasional aid of treadmills during a bitterly cold couple of months! Huge congratulations to Caroline McCartney, Judith Land, Sarah Holmes, Sarah Strickland, Nick Ruddle, Kathryn Ruddle, Sharon Perkins, Adele Perkins, Sarah Nichols for running their first 5K (over 3 miles) at Lydiard Park Parkrun! The spring saw a return to Lydiard Park for the April course, when we welcomed Yvonne Parker, Zoe Brown, Jane Weston, Gaynor Moreton, Hayley Cronin, Julie Giles, Bev Owen Bines, Dawn Chivers, all of whom nailed their first 5K this summer! Hot on their heels were the July group who enjoyed by far the sunniest evenings! Congratulations to Sharon Randle, Helen Chisholm, Michelle May, Louise Farrow, Amanda Kemp, Jane Calverley, Jacqui Robbins, Jessica Painter, Linda Simkins who stormed the August Parkrun! Our final group of the year back at Shaw Ridge showed enormous camaraderie in training leading to well-deserved 5K success at December's Parkrun for Yvonne McColl, Sarah Nunn, Joanne Cooke, Dave Wilson, Jenna Wilson, Marie Cargan, Adrian Roberts and Jenny Gill, with Helen Rankin and Kerry Barrass bouncing back from setbacks to prepare for their first 5Ks early in the New Year.  Massive congratulations to all our Couch to 5K runners in 2013 - we are really proud of you all! As the Run JB community continues to grow, we would be delighted to see as many of you as possible at our next group Parkrun on 1st March 2014 at Lydiard Park!


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March:  JBPT launch Metafit classes

We were buzzing in March with the launch of our new high-intensity interval bodyweight training class, Metafit!  Only 30 mins long, Metafit classes boost your resting metabolism so you burn more calories at rest for up to 24 hours after your workout! If you haven't tried it yet, make 2014 the year you discover what you've been missing! Join the Fat-Burn Revolution!


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April:  Kim and Sian run London Marathon

We were super excited in April as we headed to London to watch Kim and Sian tackle their first ever marathon.  Having only started running the previous August, we watched in awe as Kim stuck resolutely to her JBPT training plan, laughed in the face of black toenails and lost 3 stones on the way to the start line. A last minute charity place entry was bravely embraced by Sian, who showed tremendous determination despite late injury setbacks to make it to London. On a day to remember amidst a wonderful carnival atmosphere, Kim and Sian proved they have what it takes - becoming Team JB's first ever London Marathon medal winners. They also inspired Sam and Tony hardy to emulate their achievements by securing their entries for the 2014 race!


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May:  "Lake is the new Cake"

Wild swimming in the warm weather and picturesque Cotswold Water Park setting proved a great draw over the summer months, inspiring the classic comment "lake is the new cake"!  It really is a fantastically therapeutic escape from the rat race! Wetsuits are optional in the warmest weather but advised to get the most out of your lake swimming membership, extending the season from around April to October.


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June:  Cotswold Novice Triathlon

2013 saw Team JB embrace the UK's fastest growing sport - triathlon!  Clare Lindsay, Sian Rudge, Hayley Cronin and Sam Reed nailed their first ever triathlon in June, swimming 200m in open water, cycling a 20km circular route via Cirencester, and finally running the 2.5km around the Cotswold Country Park lake.  Alex Parker stepped up to nail the Super Sprint distance having completed the novice event the year before.  You did Team JB proud ladies!


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July:  JBPT Summer Bootcamp 2013

What a contrast from last year - sunshine galore for our evening bootcamp!  We made the most of it, and many bootcamp newcomers rose to the challenge of crawling, resisted sprinting, crab walking, ViPR flipping, farmers walking and hurdling though an array off obstacles, finishing off the fun with wheelbarrow and sack races!  Some of you even found the energy to join in an extra "Hanging Tough" challenge afterwards!


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August:  Wall Sit Fever spreads across Swindon!

JBPT's August Challenge really captured the imagination and got you wall-sitting all over Swindon (including as pictured in the Farrell School of Irish Dance!) Twitter went crazy with posts of personal bests with some really impressive times! However, in the end nobody could touch the amazing performance of Clare Farrell of over 4 mins!  If you missed out on our 2013 Challenges, full instructions on how to give them a go are available on our Challenge of the Month webpage!


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September:  Cotswold Sprint Triathlon

Team JB were out in force at the end of season Cotswold Sprint Triathlon! Superb performances by the team, many of whom were stepping up a distance having never done a tri before 2013. Great job Hayley Cronin, Alex Parker, Sarah Archer, Sian Rudge, Kevin and Tracey!


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October:  Bowood Duathlon

Having only started running back in July on our Couch to 5K course, Jane Calverley, Sharon Randle and Amanda Kemp were a bit late to join in the triathlon season. But that didn't stop them signing up for the Bowood Super Sprint Duathlon!  They did a brilliant job on a tough undulating 2.5km running course and 10km bike course on a beautiful October morning in the grounds of the stunning Bowood Estate. Congratulations ladies!


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November:  Team JB conquers Monster Race Charlton Park

Obstacle races like Tough Mudder and Men's Health Survival of the Fittest are growing massively in popularity and Team JB jumped at the chance to get covered in mud on a cold November morning! The excitement was all too much for Alex, who, unable to wait for the first proper obstacle, jumped straight into the middle of the first decent puddle with both feet. The real obstacles included the icy "Monsters' Marsh", and "The Wall" where fantastic teamwork saw us hoicking each other up and flinging ourselves over the top, winning top marks for artistic impression on dismount!  As Team JB's first venture into the world of obstacle course events, Monster Race was an exhilarating opportunity to confront and conquer a new challenge!


December:  Our 2013 Biggest Loser is revealed!  Congratulations Amanda!

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Back in Jan 2013, we had the pleasure of meeting Amanda Kemp. With a big weight loss goal, we started training in Amanda’s living room slow and steady - no matter what your size you can work out!.  As our sessions progressed we watched Amanda open her mind to change and to exercise. A breakthrough moment was Amanda turning up at our boxing class, she had worried about it all day! Losing weight builds confidence and reinforces that what you are doing IS working.  By the end of 2013, Amanda had so far lost a huge 4st 7lbs and has changed her life completely.  She attends classes, runs regularly and even competed in her first duathlon! As trainers I cannot tell you how proud it makes us feel to watch our clients embrace exercise and life.  Could you be JBPTs biggest loser of 2014?


Inspired by these remarkable achievements?  Why not make 2014 an unforgettable year by reaching your health and fitness goals.  Personal Training can help you get there, whether you want to emulate such feats or simply lose weight and improve your health.  Contact us today to learn more.

 
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Be honest. How supportive are you towards helping your partner reach their fitness goals? In my experience as a personal trainer, it is clear that family and friends have a huge influence on an individual's probability of success in achieving their target, from weight-loss to running a marathon. 

Let's face it - any goal worth achieving involves an element of sacrifice.  If someone is devoting a lot of time to training, this could mean spending less time with their partner.  But it doesn't always have to!  It is fantastic when I see other halves adopting the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy when their partner starts a new fitness training regime.  They find that the time spent together - cycling, running or walking, for example, can turn out to be the best quality time they have spent together in a long while: enjoying the great outdoors together free from the incessant interruptions of modern technology. It can work well even if you are at different fitness or motivation levels - a partner accompanying the occasional long run on bike, for example, may be an easier sell than them undertaking all your marathon training!

Support towards a fitness goal doesn't stop with the training - a partner's influence can be even more important when it comes to food shopping and mealtimes.    If you are lucky enough to have a partner who does most of the cooking, don't expect them to cook two separate meals if you don't fancy the healthy food that they are preparing (yes, believe it or not this does happen!). Also, if you know your other half is trying to lose weight, don't tempt them with offers to order take-away!

If you are really honest, does part of you worry that you may look bad in comparison if your partner succeeds?  Why not see their ambition as an opportunity rather than a threat?  Get on board and exercise more and eat more healthily.  You will always be much stronger as a couple working together towards a common goal.

 
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It is a big decision to hire a personal trainer.  It signifies that you are finally ready to prioritise your health and do what it takes to achieve your fitness goals. If weight loss is your goal, it means that you realise that the cost of personal training is relatively modest compared to the cost of weight loss surgery.  But how do you go about choosing a personal trainer?

  1. Is your Personal Trainer a Member of the Register of Exercise Professionals?

Paramount in the decision is ensuring that you find a trainer who is properly qualified.  The UK Register of Exercise Professionals is an independent public register that provides a system of regulation for personal trainers to ensure that they meet the health and fitness industry's agreed national occupations standards. Membership of REPs provides assurance and confidence to consumers that all registered exercise professionals are appropriately qualified and have the knowledge, competence and skills to perform specific roles. Members are bound by a Code of Ethical Conduct and hold appropriate public liability insurance. In order to remain on the Register, members must continue to meet the standards that are set for their profession through Continual Professional Development (CPD).

  1. Do they specialise in achieving your specific fitness goal?

A lot of personal trainers try to be a "jack of all trades" when in reality fitness is a very wide-ranging field. The expertise required to achieve results for a man interested in bodybuilding, for example, is very different to that required to achieve sustainable weight loss. A personal trainer who specialises in the area of your specific goal is far better placed to achieve the results you are looking for.

  1. Does your Personal Trainer have a strong track record of achieving results?

The ultimate proof that a personal trainer will get you results is whether they have done so for other clients looking to achieve similar goals.  Look to see whether a personal training website contains testimonials of real life success stories.  A successful personal trainer should be happy for you to chat to previous clients about their experiences of personal training and how it helped them achieve their goals.

  1. Do they offer nutritional advice?

Whatever your fitness goal, it is impossible to achieve optimum results without paying careful attention to your nutrition.  A good personal trainer will offer appropriate nutritional advice to ensure that you achieve your goal.  The best personal training services will also include regular monitoring and feedback on your nutrition via a food diary process.  As revealed by the current Channel 4 series "Secret Eaters", we often have poor self-awareness of our eating habits and a food diary can be instrumental in revealing distorted perceptions of what we consume.

  1. How comprehensive is their personal training package?

Your personal trainer should design a bespoke exercise programme to follow in your own time.  This should be tailored to achieve your specific goals, and adapted to your personal circumstances and preferences for training - whether at home, outdoors or in the gym.  Weight loss specialist personal trainers should also closely monitor changes to your body composition rather than focussing solely on weight itself.  This will ensure that the weight you lose in predominantly due to a reduction in bodyfat, rather than a loss of water and muscle mass, as is often the case with dangerous liquid based diets such as Lighter Life and the Cambridge Diet Plan.  The best personal training services will also provide "Before and After" photographs which offer powerful motivation to maintain healthy lifestyle changes once you start seeing results.

  1. Do they have clear terms and conditions?

Your personal trainer should clearly state the terms and conditions of the personal training service.  Personal training is a serious commitment and you should expect the terms and conditions to reflect this. For example, be wary of "pay-as-you-go" personal training sessions.  A trainer who does not demand a commitment of a minimum number of sessions for their clients is far less likely to offer the same level of service, since they have no guarantee that they will ever see the client again! Similarly, just as you would for a dentist or physiotherapist, expect to provide notice of at least 24 hours to change or cancel an appointment, since your session time would otherwise be available to other clients.  If a personal trainer does not apply such conditions, it may be an indication that they are not a full-time professional.

  1. Will we get on?

Last but definitely not least, how confident can you be that you will develop a rapport with your personal trainer?  After all, this is PERSONAL training - it is crucial that you establish a positive relationship with your personal trainer to be motivated to achieve results.  There are various ways to get an insight into your trainer's personality and ethos - through website testimonials, speaking with previous clients, or attending their group exercise classes.  For weight loss goals, an important consideration is also whether the trainer has the life experience to understand the psychology of weight problems.  For example, a young male trainer may have strong expertise in fitness instruction but may struggle to empathise with a stressed forty-something professional woman seeking to lose over three stones.

 
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As we approach the end of an amazing Olympic year, we'd like to take a moment to thank you all for your continued support and congratulate our growing JB Personal Training family on some fantastic achievements over the last twelve months.


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May:  JBPT Summer Bootcamp 2012

This year's summer bootcamp truly embodied the JBPT mantra "If it ain't raining, it ain't training." Our hardy bootcampers were undeterred, braving the elements to tackle an array of challenges from scramble nets and jerry cans to sack races!  Join the fun in 2013 with our growing range of both early morning and evening fitness classes in Swindon.

 


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June:  Michelle May's first triathlon

In June, our Michelle completed her very first triathlon, the Cotswold Women Only Triathlon, at the Cotswold Water Park just north of Swindon. Massive congratulations to Michelle not only for finishing the event but also for raising £2,000 for charity. This is a brilliant starting point for anyone tempted to "give tri a try", with a novice event swimming leg of only 200m (equivalent to eight lengths of a standard sized pool). So start training now and you will have plenty time to join us next year!

 


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July:  Run JB Couch to 5K Course Launched

Shona joined JBPT full-time in July, enabling expansion of our personal training service and the launch of Run JB, our beginners running group.  Our summer Couch to 5K course, based in Lydiard Park, was a great success, culminating with our graduates completing the 5K Swindon Parkrun in August. Check out our JBPT YouTube channel for more footage of the event!

 


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August:  Couch to 5K graduates complete ParkRun

Our Couch to 5K course runners successfully completed their first ever 5K after 8 weeks training! Many congratulations to Paul Cowling, Ann Broomfield, Nicky Daley, Linda Robinson, Sue Cripps, Aline Coutts, Loren Cowling, Barbara Kirkup and Amanda Bond!  Elsewhere, Janet Palmer took part in the Guernsey Marathon team relay event. Completing her 7km leg as a member of her family team, Janet enjoyed fabulous views and glorious sunshine!


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September:  Tony Hardy, Chris Madumere, Dan Hardy and George Reed complete Scotland Coast to Coast

In September, Tony Hardy, Chris Madumere and Dan Hardy completed the grueling 107 mile long Scotland Coast to Coast event, cycling, running, hiking and kayaking there way from Nairn to the Isles of Glencoe. Together they raised over £4000 for the Swindon MS Therapy Centre, which supported his brother Alan before he died from the illness in June last year.

 


 

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October:  Tony Hardy completes Swindon Half Marathon

Tony Hardy picked up a hat-trick of medals this autumn. Hot on the heels of the Scotland Coast to Coast, he headed for the Cricklade 10K and lastly the Swindon Half Marathon in October. Tony plans to follow this with a half-ironman triathlon in 2013!



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November:  Christine McLachlan bikes Vietnam to Cambodia

Christine battled the side-effects of numerous vaccinations to make it to the start of her epic Vietnam to Cambodia bike ride in November. The 400km route took her from Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, through traditional Vietnamese villages, gorgeous streams and rivers, passing paddy fields and stunning mountains.


 

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December:  Dawn Chivers climbs Kilimanjaro

Dawn grasped the opportunity of a lifetime to climb the world's highest free standing mountain. Its highest point, Uhuru Peak, is a staggering 5,895m above sea level. Congratulations Dawn for scaling such heights and raising £600 for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

"2 years ago I found myself over weight and extremely unfit - My biker lifestyle of beer and burgers had finally caught up with me! Something had to be done! So, I got myself a Personal Trainer (JB Personal Training, Swindon) who got me to see the error of my ways and motivated me to totally change the way that I lived. As a result, I am thinner, fitter and madder - hence this crazy climb up a bloomin' great mountain (sprained ankle and all!) that would have been impossible just a couple of years ago.


Inspired by these remarkable achievements?  Why not make 2013 an unforgettable year by reaching your health and fitness goals.  Personal Training can help you get there, whether you want to emulate such feats or simply lose weight and improve your health.  Contact us today to learn more.

 

 
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