“Are you Tense Right This Minute?”

Are you feeling stressed right now? Let me give you a quick tip…

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says;

‘Tension is who you think you should be, and relaxation is who you are’

Relaxation Tension HWL.001

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So what I’ve noticed is, for instance, when someone loses a loved one; they think that the more stress, the more distress and the more sadness that they show – the more love that they are expressing.

When really I don’t think that’s true. The person who has passed away would not want you to be suffering and would not want you to be sad for so long.


So, holding on to a stress, being aware of how stressed we are. How stressed are you right now? Are you holding tension in an area of your body or in your head or anywhere? Where are you holding it…


Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you really are. How do we get into that point of relaxation? The best way is: breathing. And here is where I want you to focus the breath.


If you try and meditate, if you try and ‘Brain Train’, if you try and use your breath to relax, if you’re focusing on the moving breaths; that’s not quite going to work.

We need to focus on stillness. Where is the stillness in your breath?

It’s in between the inhalation and the exhalation. That’s where the focus goes, or where your mind clears.

So breathe in & hold at the top of the breath. Pause there for a few seconds. Allow your mind to clear. Then when you’re ready breathe out. When you have fully exhaled, pause for a few seconds. When you’re ready to breathe in (wait till you feel the desire the inhalation will be more fulfilling) breathe in… & repeat.


For a few seconds, maybe you can elongate that to 30 seconds. But start with 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 seconds. Do that, practice it, it will help you to de-stress and clear your mind. Try that now.


Slow down. Come to a pause, in-between the inhalation and the exhalation. This will help to decrease the stress in your body & become a part of your life.


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“Your Brain, Pain & Energy”

I was listening to professor Timothy Noakes who has led exercise science for 20+ maybe even 30+ years now and is a big proponent of low carb, high fat diets.

What I’m going to talk about here is the brain. Timothy actually explains that the main limiting factor within your results (using physical activity as the example) is not exhaustion or decrease in energy, but rather the brain being the limiting factor in order to protect the body.


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What they found through testing over 30 years is that you can find two people with exactly the same VO2 Max (that’s usually the limiting factor that will tell you someone’s performance) and you will get one that can run a marathon in 2 hours 20 minutes and the other can run it in 3 hours.


Some people experience these illusions of pain in the muscle or pain in the joint, as blocking you to protect you. So the brain is blocking you from continuing the race.


As long as we know this information we know that we can keep going, and get a better experience from it and even learn more.


He’s wrote several books, one of them is the law of running and another is real meal revolution. He’s run 71 marathons and ultra marathons (ultra marathons are 50 miles!)


The point being in this one is that your brain again is the limiting factor. I keep going back to this because if 80% of your results is psychology, 20% is mechanics and there’s a lot of evidence that points to that being the truth then where should we focus most of our efforts? On the brain.


We can work on our brain, work on our emotions and work on our energy levels but where does our energy come from? I had this conversation earlier, does it come from food, does it come from oxygen does It come from sleep?


I propose something to you that energy comes from movement, the more you move the more energy you get. Have you noticed that when you’re really active and you’re doing things the more energy you’ve got and you can keep going? When you’re more lethargic and you’ve allowed yourself to be a little bit lazy you can’t be bothered to do anything. This is clear that much of something brings more.


Timothy Noakes said that your brain is a limiting factor, but when we know this if it’s fear or if it’s actually pain from exercise, we know that the brain may be bringing up that illusion just to try and protect us and if we can go through that we can actually extend, and get our results that we desire a little bit sooner than we thought rather than being stopped by these illusions.


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The Best Way to Boost Your Energy Is…

Before you get in that long line for Starbucks coffee to help wake you up tomorrow – consider the following studies & think about fitting in a 20 minute workout instead.

Research suggests that regular exercise can increase energy levels, even more than caffeine.  Better yet – exercise is even effective at boosting the energy levels among those suffering from chronic medical conditions such as cancer & heart disease.  (Now that’s some powerful ‘medicine’!)


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In a study published in the Psychological Bulletin, over 6,800 people were analysed to measure the effects of exercise on their fatigue.  By the end of the study, more than 90% of the people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue over the groups that did not exercise.

In fact, the study showed that exercise was often even more effective than – not just caffeine, but even greater than the effects of stimulant medication used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) & narcolepsy.

According to researcher Tim Puetz, PhD of UGA: “We live in a society where people are always looking for the next sports drink, energy bar, or cup of coffee that will give them the extra edge to get through the day, but it may be that lacing up your tennis shoes & getting out & doing some physical activity every morning can provide that spark of energy that people are looking for.” (Source)


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So if you have just 20 minutes to spare in the morning – try the following challenge: replace your detour for coffee with a quick bout of regular exercise for a few weeks.

For example: 10 bodyweight squats, followed by 10 full-body or kneeling press-ups. Complete two to three rounds.

Be aware of your level of fatigue & see if the little extra movement actually increases your energy levels.


To Your Best Health

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




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Coffee Or Not To Be?

You know that cup o’ joe is a great friend first thing in the morning – helping you to shake off the remnants of sleep & get ready to take charge of your day.

But you may not know that there are countless other health benefits your body is getting from that very same fragrant brew… read on to discover just how good coffee is for you!


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The Interesting History of Coffee…

Coffee first became a well-known beverage in 17th century England.

As the drink became more popular, coffee houses emerged & coined the phrase, ‘penny universities’ because you could buy a cup of coffee & sit & have stimulating conversations with others for just a penny.

…In fact, in 1675 the king of England banned coffee houses, claiming that they were a place for people to meet & conspire against him!

Today, the world drinks approximately 400 billion cups of coffee every year!


Beyond the Boost…Essential Nutrients in Coffee

According to medicalnewstoday.com it is highly likely that you get more of your daily dose of antioxidants from coffee than you do from anything else you eat or drink!

Coffee is a great source of antioxidants & – a single cup also contains the following essential nutrients:

  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Also, don’t forget that coffee is a great tool to help fill you up or taste something flavourful with only a few calories! (Just watch not to add too much cream or sugar!)



Burn Fat with Coffee…

If you’ve ever checked the ingredients in fat-burning supplements you’ve likely seen one thing listed over & over – caffeine.

Caffeine is one of the very few substances that have proven to help your body burn fat.

According to authoritynutrition.com studies show that caffeine – and thus your cup of caffeinated coffee – can boost your metabolic rate by anywhere from 3% to 11%!



Better Workouts with Coffee…

So the caffeine in coffee helps give you a physical boost of energy & helps your body burn fat faster & more efficiently… So it only makes sense that coffee makes a great addition to an effective workout routine!

One strong cup of coffee a half an hour before you head to the gym can help:

  • Increase the adrenaline levels in the blood


  • Stimulate the “fight or flight” hormone that allows the body to perform at maximum intensity


  • Encourage the body to break down fat and use it as fuel for your workout


  • You could also supplement caffeine with a simple pill – careful if you are unsure about your reaction to caffeine! Start small & build up.



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Lower Risk of Cancer with Coffee….

According to authoritynutrition.com studies have shown coffee drinkers to be better protected from both liver cancer & colorectal cancer.

At this time liver cancer & colorectal cancer are the 3rd & 4th most prominent in all cancer cases.  Coffee drinkers on the other hand make up a smaller percentage of those affected.

…Another great reason to go grab a cup of brew!



Other Possible Benefits of Coffee….

Numerous studies on the effects of coffee have shown that when you are drinking coffee, you may also be:

  • Reducing your risk of stroke


  • Reducing your risk of heart disease


  • Lower your risk of Type 2 Diabetes


  • Protecting yourself against Alzheimer’s disease & Dementia


  • Reduce your risk of Parkinson’s Disease


  • Protecting your liver & avoiding hepatitis & cirrhosis


A Harvard study even showed that women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed.

Also, across the board those who drink 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to commit suicide.

Finally, a study performed in 2012 & another study published in 2008 showed that if you drink 3 or more cups of coffee a day you are more likely to live longer.

…So coffee may even help to increase the length of your life!



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To Brew or Not to Brew…

…isn’t this now the question?

For optimal performance in your workouts, in burning fat, increasing your energy, lowering your risk of multiple diseases & overall improving your mood – go start a pot of coffee or stop by your local coffee shop.

Remember though – many of these positive effects can be counterbalanced if you add too much creamer or sugar to your coffee – try to stick with black americano & use natural sweeteners whenever possible – like stevia.

Lastly, the effects of coffee will remain in your system for up to 6 hours. So a general rule is not to drink coffee past 4pm every day.

Go forth & enjoy.



To Your Best Health,

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




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