Less is More: Why You Shouldn’t Work Out For More Than One Hour

When you miss a few days at the gym do you try to ‘make up for it’ with a few marathon sessions?  While the intentions are good – the results – are actually bad.

My workouts never last longer than one hour.  Over one hour workouts increase cortisol production & ultimately slow protein synthesis, aka. muscle mass production.



What is Cortisol?

Cortisol, sometimes called the “stress hormone” is essential to body maintenance, however it can negatively impact your life by reducing protein synthesis – the production of lean muscle mass.


Three functions of cortisol are:

  1. Halting tissue growth & bone formation in preparation of the use of current muscle mass:

When stressed, all your body knows is fight or flight.


It’s purely a matter of survival. All growth & repair will be slowed as every emphasis is placed on survival in that stressful moment.


If you’re under prolonged bouts of stress, which stimulates production of cortisol, (everyone you know is currently in this state most of the time) then health & vitality no longer are the focal point of your bodily systems – survival is.


Get enough energy (glucose – think sugary foods & quick energy sources like chocolate, bagels & energy drinks) so that you’re ready to respond to the danger at hand.


Everything else is second to survival. Even though you are not actually under physical attack or in immediate danger of losing your life your body is under the impression that you are!



  1. Metabolise protein, fat & carbohydrate as sources of energy:

Cortisol will blunt the production & function of Insulin so that all energy that enters your system is instantly available to your muscles so that you can punch & kick or run your way out of danger rather than being able to store that energy.


This might sound like a good thing? It is – for a short period of time, but it is most definitely a bad thing if your system predominantly functions in this way.


Triglycerides (fat) will be mobilised & over time visceral fat will build up around your abdomen – think fat flabby belly.


Protein will be burnt for energy if stress levels warrant it. Don’t have enough glucose (sugar) floating around your bloodstream? Burn whatever you do have to keep the limbs moving & the heart pumping fast.


If you’re not alive then there is no point having stored energy or a rippling six-pack!



  1. Inhibits Immune Response:

This happens to prevent your body from creating inflammation.


In the most part inflammation is a protective response. Swell an area to inhibit movement & flush that area with blood & immune cells.


It’s natural & supports healing.


However in the stressed moment – think most of the time these days what with constant artificial light, unhealthy processed food & a lacking exercise habit – all your body is trying to do is survive.


Inflammation would slow you down & increase your chances of getting caught or not being able to fight your way out of this dangerous moment.


However, when you slow down for a moment you start to realise the moment may not be quite as dangerous as your body is interpreting it right now.


Cortisol is considered to be catabolic as it produces the opposite effects of testosterone – it breaks down tissue instead of building it up.

Cortisol/Testosterone balance is an important factor if you’re aiming for optimal health & performance. More about this in another article.



Why no more than an hour?

Just think of the old adage: ‘too much of a good thing’.  There is a point when working out goes from making improvements to your body to stressing & straining it.

Working out longer than an hour can result in some or all of the following:

  • Muscle loss
  • Lower Testosterone levels
  • Weakened Immunity
  • Greater chance of injury
  • Insomnia
  • Little to no muscle gain or fat loss
  • Overall poor health



The Bottom Line…

Keep your workouts between forty-five & sixty minutes long

Concise & effective workouts save you time & harbor greater results

While you may be ambitious, remember that consistency is key & results will come when you have a clear smart plan & stick to it.

The more Testosterone you have the easier you will find it to increase muscle tone. Cortisol can suppress Testosterone.

In another article I’ll talk more about Cortisol/Testosterone balance… stay tuned. Until then…


To Your Best Health

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




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Circadian Rhythms & The Best Time to Workout

What time do you usually go to sleep?  Is it the same time every night?


I am asleep by 10.30pm four or more nights every week. This is a goal that I’ve set for myself & I stick to in order to help me have successful & productive days as well as support my productive.


What is a Circadian Rhythm?

This is your body’s natural biological clock.  Katherine Sharkey, MD, PhD, assistant professor of internal medicine & psychiatry & human behaviour at Brown University & associate director of the Sleep for Science Research Lab explains:

“The human clock is about 24 hours, thanks to Earth’s 24-hour light-dark cycle.  But some people have a slightly longer natural cycle, & some are slightly shorter.”

Sharkey says, “There’s a developmental piece to this puzzle – school-age children are generally early birds, while teenagers tend to be night owls, & then as they age, adults gradually transition back into morning people.”


Early Bird or Night Owl?

So which are you?  Do you tend to get up early & feel most active & productive first thing?  Or are you one who tends to get a burst of energy later at night?

Good news for the early birds: “night owls tend to be more depressed, have a higher dependence on caffeine, & use alcohol more,”

Sharkey says.  According to a study from the University of Toronto morning people also tend to be happier & report feeling healthier than night people.


When to Workout…

So what does all of this have to do with your workouts?

Well, once you know about your body’s rhythms you can work with this internal clock to schedule workouts to get maximum results.

In terms of your circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle) it’s best to work out earlier in the day. Between 8am & 2pm for example.

Your Cortisol levels are naturally higher (or should be) at this period of time so it would be wise to take advantage of that.

Also, as your day progresses you will begin to experience more fatigue. So in order to keep your workouts intense enough to generate results you should aim to workout as early in the day as your schedule permits.

The night-time is for relaxing and recovering.,, & the occasional wild party.


Keep up the good work.



To Your Best Health

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




To Receive Quality Info Like This Straight To Your Email: Click Me!












Ass to Grass: 9 Tips for Proper Full Depth Squatting

The squat is one of the most effective exercises for building leg, lower body & whole body strength.

At the same time, it is one of the most difficult exercises to perform correctly & can be ineffective or even dangerous if performed incorrectly.

Many trainers use the cue, “sit back into the squat” to help teach proper technique & get clients to push their bodies & get the most of out the exercise.

I prefer to use the reminder, “Ass to grass!” to help provide an effective (albeit funny) visual on how to squat as low as possible for full effectiveness.


A Functional Exercise…

Squats are considered to be a ‘functional exercise’ as they have a high carry-over to use in everyday life.

Squats will help with range of motion at the hip & knee joints & help strengthen your back.

They build muscles which help you to sit in & out of chairs, lift items &/or bend down & pick items up off the floor.  Squatting effects essential muscles that are used in everyday life.

When performed correctly proper squatting will help to improve muscle tone in your thighs, glutes & hips which will then ease tension on the joints & helps to support your lower back.



Proper Squat Formation…

When squatting, keep in mind the following things:

  1. Your knees can protrude past your toes, in fact this is much healthier for your knee joint.
  2. Hinge your hips so your butt moves backward.
  3. Keep the pressure of the squat on your heels & through to the balls of your feet & toes.
  4. Keep your head straight – look at the horizon. Spinal alignment is a key technique point.
  5. Keep your shoulders back & chest out – again, keep the spine aligned.
  6. Set a healthy arch that suits you. Get this right for your lower back.
  7. Spread your toes for better balance.
  8. Inhale as you go down – exhale as you come up. Use your TVA & pelvic floor muscles.
  9. Aim to cover your calf muscles with your hamstring muscles – this is ‘ass to grass’.



The Importance Of The Pre-Stretch…

Tightness in your chest, back, hips, ankle joint, calf, foot and even toes can cause effective squat technique to be a wish rather than a reality.

Stretch out your groin, your feet and your calf muscles before each set.

You can simply do this by sitting into a deep squat while holding onto a solid stable object & holding that position.

In fact, while you’re down there stretching lean into any areas where you feel tight, this could help increase the depth of your squat & therefore increase the effectiveness of your squat session.

I have my clients stretch before every squat set, then allow thirty to sixty seconds recovery before performing the next set – stretching in this way is more important the heavier you are lifting.

If you are unsure about your technique, invest in a good trainer for two or more squat technique sessions.

Alternatively keep an eye out for my ‘Squat Technique Day’ – coming soon. Let me know if you’re interested in a day of learning how to squat effectively for a strong back & fat loss.

Together we’ll get the ‘ass to grass’ method working to improve your health & physique right away!

Until then…


To Your Best Health

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




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Burn Out: The Price Of Success? Executive / Corporate burn-out & how to avoid it

While aiming high helps you achieve greater success, at times your ambitious nature may lead to such a level of stress that you risk ‘burn out’.  New studies on this topic show that while great pursuits are not a bad thing, there is a level of perfectionism that is so high that it can lead to stress, frustration, depression & more.


The Perfectionist

Studies discussed at Livescience.com describe new research showing that 90+% of highly ambitious people refer to themselves as ‘perfectionists’.  The study also revealed that the trick to keeping stress & potential burnout at bay is to keep your high standards but avoid beating yourself up when you don’t meet every expectation or goal.  A fine line to walk basically!


The Risks

While the above strategy may seem difficult to balance perfectionism + forgiveness for failures, consider the alternatives.  Stress related to perfectionistic tendencies & high-goals has been linked to:

  • Mental health problems
  • Physical health problems
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • …& even early death!

So is it worth trying to find this balance to avoid any of the above?  After all, any of the above problems will set you back on your goals far longer – or even permanently!


How to Avoid Burnout

Study author Andrew Hill, a sports psychologist at York St. John University in England explains that:

Perfectionists “tend to be rigid,” Hill said. If they set their goals too high, they may burn out or bow out at the first sign of failure. Thinking of achievements in degrees, rather than as pure success or failure, can help reduce the stress that causes burnout, Hill said.

So what can you do today to start on this path?

Start by outlining your goals & thinking of all of the steps involved in achieving them.  While you still want to outline dates & deadlines, remember the ‘degrees of credit’ advice suggested by Hill.  Instead of thinking of everything as success or failure give yourself a rating: ‘70%’ & then use that as an additional motivator to continuously improve your rating/scores on all fronts.

…After all, 100% is not achievable 100% of the time – so remember to give yourself partial credit PLUS a bonus for the overall amount of projects you are tackling at once!

To Your Best Health,

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




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Why Your Workouts Should Be High Intensity

New studies show that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be even better than regular aerobic exercise.

Emerging research indicates that HIIT may be more effective in reducing subcutaneous (beneath the skin) abdominal fat than other forms of exercise.


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The Benefits of HIIT…

According to research by Stephen H. Boutcher, High intensity exercise helps lower insulin resistance & results in a number of skeletal muscle adaptations which help enhance skeletal muscle fat oxidation & improve glucose tolerance.

Basically put this form of exercise will increase muscle tone and burn off body fat.

Tests were performed on sprinters as they often have quick bouts of intense exercise with periods of rest in between.

Beyond the health benefits mentioned above HIIT has also proven to be more time-efficient & helps you to get results more quickly & efficiently.

…Particularly when you’re focusing on the abdominal area.


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HIIT can easily be modified for anyone at any fitness level & even for those with special conditions such as diabetes or weight problems.

Examples of HIIT exercises includes but is not limited to:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Aqua Training
  • Cycling
  • Eliptical
  • Cross-training
  • Treadmill walking, jogging or running (sprinting)


An Example Workout…

Try this as a workout next time you’re in the mood to shift some belly fat.

Two minutes steady pace – this will act as a warm up. Slowly increase your speed over the two minutes.

At the two minute period hit the gas and go into a sprint (or something resembling a sprint). Keep this pace up for 30 seconds. Just do your best, that’s all that can ever be asked of you.

At two minutes thirty slow it down to a steady/slow pace. This is active recovery. Actively recover for one minute – then repeat the process.

Complete at least five sprints and work your way up to fifteen. That is a goal.

If you try and complete fifteen on your first attempt you may experience nausea like you just downed a glass of thick salt water – so aim for five and build yourself up.

At the end continue the movement slowly and easily for two to five minutes as a cool down – keep the blood flowing for a period of time after the intensity, then apply some light stretching.



The Bottom Line…

If you are not sure where to begin, click the link below and I will walk through your L.E.N.S (Lifestyle, Exercise, Nutrition, Supplementation) status & how to best utilise your time in order to get to where you want to be – fast!

I can get this to you today, for free.


Click Here – This will not be Free forever so grab your personal health report while you can, I’d love to start helping you out by coaching you today.


To Your Best Health,

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




Also be sure to keep an eye out for my new book, which will cover all the above mentioned points in detail.

I’ll keep you posted on the release date – it’s a matter of weeks now!




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Stress Chemically Affects Willpower…But….

Have you ever been totally on track with your diet & eating habits, happy about your overall diet & then get hit with a big bout of stress?


Maybe it’s work related, family related or just a combination of everything but suddenly your willpower to make healthy choices lessens until you no longer care to make those good decisions.


…In fact, you may even feel a bit rebellious – when stress is impacting you & there’s nothing you can do to eliminate the stress, eating poorly seems like a small (albeit inner-child serving) impulse to do one irresponsible thing in your day.


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Don’t worry.  Not only is it understandable from a human standpoint – but even new studies performed in Switzerland prove that even moderate stress led participants to choose food that they liked over food that was healthy.





The Big Why….


The study actually showed that there are neural pathways in the brain that influence a person’s desire for immediate gratification.


When stress is increased, the areas of the brain that help to control willpower are actually affected & the desire for immediate gratification increases.


According to Silvia Maier, a co-author of the study & doctoral candidate in neuroeconomics at the University of Zurich, “The findings show that self-control is mediated by a complex & distributed network in the brain.”


She outlined that any number of disturbances in any of these complex regions of the brain can weaken self-control.



Use These Logical Coaching Points To Decrease Your Stress And Increase Your Success – Click Here To Learn How



The Good News…


It’s not all your fault.  The point is that willpower is not 100% a production of your mind thinking through what’s going on & making choices.


There are actually chemicals in your body that are affected, particularly in times of stress – which help to weaken your resolve.




The Big “BUT”…


Then again, knowing that it is not 100% reliant on your own thought processes does not provide an excuse!


If anything, knowing that there are even more things affecting your willpower you need to be that much more dedicated to working against all of these factors & keeping yourself motivated, inspired & dedicated in any & all ways possible!




Motivation Techniques…
Below are some ideas on how to help stay motivated, particularly in times of stress:


  • Mater Mind Group: We all know it helps to talk through the stress, plan to meet for a walk or a workout at the gym while you talk about the issues and think through solutions.


  • Do anything & everything you can to eliminate or reduce the stress in your life – if there are areas that you’ve been avoiding (i.e. talking with a spouse, co-worker) tackle them head-on & get these conversations out of the way as quickly as possible so to reduce the stress as soon as possible.



  • Keep an eye out my new book which helps busy professionals find ways around their high-stake & stressful jobs to still get the body & results that they want: Coming Soon!



To Your Best Health,

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




Dont Miss Out – Twenty Quick Questions That Could Make The Difference For You – Click Here




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Stress may sabotage diet willpower: http://www.livescience.com/51756-stress-food-decisions-willpower.html


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




To Receive Quality Info Like This Straight To Your Email: Click Me!






Do You Know The 3 Muscle Types?

There are three types of muscles in the human body; many of them go un-noticed or unrecognised for the most part, as we associate the conversation of muscles primarily with the skeletal muscles.

Skeletal muscles are the only voluntary muscle tissue in the human body & control every action that a person consciously performs.

Most skeletal muscles are attached to two bones across a joint, so the muscle serves to move parts of those bones closer to each other.

Take ShapeTrainer’s Optimalism Test: LENS Indicator to discover how to instantly improve muscle function


Visceral, or smooth, muscle is found inside organs such as the stomach & intestines, as well as in blood vessels. It is called a smooth muscle because, unlike skeletal muscle, it does not have the banded appearance of skeletal or cardiac muscle.

As the weakest of all muscle tissues, visceral muscles contract to move substances through the organ.  Because visceral muscle is controlled by the unconscious part of the brain, it is known as involuntary muscle, as it cannot be controlled by the conscious mind.

Found only in the heart, cardiac muscle is an involuntary muscle responsible for pumping blood throughout the body.

The heart’s natural pacemaker is made of cardiac muscle that signals other cardiac muscles to contract. Like visceral muscles, cardiac muscle tissue is controlled involuntarily. While hormones & signals from the brain adjust the rate of contraction, cardiac muscle stimulates itself to contract.

When you become aware of the functions of your muscles and the connected role they play getting you through the day you cannot help but be amazed.

To discover what positively affects these muscles take my Optimalism Test: LENS Indicator. It will provide you with instant ways to improve your health & performance.

You can take the Optimalism Test: LENS Indicator for free & receive your personalised report – Click Here


To Your Best Health,

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




To Receive Quality Info Like This Straight To Your Email: Click Me!







It Takes 3,500 Calories To Gain Or Lose A Pound

The Magic Number…

It takes 3,500 calories to lose a pound.

So all you need to do is skip eating & exercise until you reach 3,500 right?  Not quite.

Remember – if it was THAT easy…well, everyone could do it! When you begin on your journey to creating a physically better you, a number of factors need to be considered.

Indeed caloric intake is instrumental in creating an initial step to a healthier you. What type of calorie & when you consume that calorie are also important elements to consider.


Take ShapeTrainer’s – Optimalism Test: LENS Indicator –  to discover how to optimalise calorie burn


The Winning Combo…

When you cut back on calories, your body’s metabolism eventually slows down to compensate for the lack of food & fuel coming in.

How do you combat a slower metabolic rate & maintain your rate of fat loss?

It takes regular exercise along with the reduction of ‘unhealthy calories’ & increase of ‘higher nutrient dense foods’ to create & maintain an optimal physique.

Keep in mind exercise increases your metabolism, to ensure that you are burning more calories than you consume but at the same time are increasing your level of health, it is important to work with an expert on the matter – search out a good personal trainer.

Eat nutrient dense foods – check out my 100 Health Foods Free eBook, a one-click free download from the homepage of my website: www.ShapeTrainer.co.uk



Even a Winning Plan Can Have Setbacks…

At a certain point a body ‘plateaus’ after losing weight for a period of time.

There are ways to bump your body through a plateau but remember – it’s not all about the scale!

It’s about reducing fat, increasing muscle & creating a healthier & more capable physique.


Take This Free and Quick Test To Quickly Get Yourself On The Path To Optimal Health and Performance


Lastly, I suggest a BioSignature assessment – a non-invasive body fat test. This is the most accurate way to test your body-fat outside of a lab: BioSignature Body-Fat Testing




There may come a point where you have reduced your fat to the optimal amount.

At that point you’ll be looking to maintain the body that you have created & begin truly sculpting the image that you want to achieve.

A vital key in all weight loss, body-building & shape-training regimens is to be conscious of essential vitamins & minerals that your body needs.

Also, remember to adjust your own expectations & realise that it’s consistency that is key in any fitness programme.


Take ShapeTrainer’s – Optimalism Test: LENS Indicator –  to discover how to optimalise calorie burn



To Your Best Health,

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




To Receive Quality Info Like This Straight To Your Email: Click Me!



100 Best Health Foods – Volume 16: 76 – 80

Are you stocking your cupboards & fridge in a way that helps promote optimal health & performance?

I’d like to help you do so with this countdown of the top 100 Best Health foods.

Below are 5 more of the healthiest foods available along with more information about their nutrition, benefits & interesting facts that can help bring about optimal health & performance.


  1. Sage

Nutrition per 100g

Calories:  2

Fat: 0.09 g

Carbohydrates:  0.43 g

Sugars:  0.01 g

Fibre: 0.3 g

Protein:  0.07 g



  • Sage is a strong antioxidant, antibacterial, & preservative.
  • It helps to boost memory.
  • It helps to reduce hot flashes associated with menopause.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties.


Interesting Facts:

  • Sage tea is a natural cure for a headache.
  • Sage mixed with vinegar & water can be used as an astringent, & sage can be used as a hair rinse helps to bring out the highlights in dark hair & reduces the appearance of grey.



  1. Oregano

Nutrition per 100g

Calories:  306

Fat: 10.25 g

Carbohydrates:  64.43 g

Sugars:  4.09 g

Fibre:  42.8 g

Protein:  11 g

Potassium:  1669 mg



  • Oregano is one of the most powerful antioxidant plants.
  • Oregano is an antibacterial & may help to relieve the symptoms of colds.
  • It is rich in minerals.
  • Oregano is high in fibre & may aid digestion.



Interesting Facts:

  • Ancient Greeks believed that cows that grazed in fields full of oregano ended up providing tastier meet.
  • Ancient Greeks also believed that if you anointed yourself with oregano you would dream about your future spouse.
  • Oregano is often referred to as the pizza herb.


  1. Cilantro

Nutrition per 100g

Calories:  23

Fat: 0.52 g

Carbohydrates:  3.67 g

Sugars:  0.87 g

Fibre:  2.8 g

Protein:  2.13 g

Potassium:  521 mg



  • Cilantro helps to regulate blood sugars & therefore may help diabetes & people who are insulin-resistant
  • Cilantro acts as an anti-inflammatory & antibacterial.
  • It has a positive impact on blood cholesterol levels.
  • It may contribute to improved eye health.


Interesting Facts:

  • Cilantro (also referred to as coriander) has been around since biblical times.
  • Cilantro seeds become more fragrant as they age.



  1. Thyme

Nutrition per 100g

Calories:  429

Fat: 21 g

Carbohydrates:  54 g

Sugars:  4 g

Fibre: 7 g

Protein:  18 g

Potassium:  607 mg



  • Thyme works synergistically (in combination with) omega-3 fats. Each boost the effectiveness of the other.
  • May boost brain-power.
  • Thyme has strong antiseptic & antibiotic properties.
  • Thyme is rich in flavonoid antioxidants, iron & vitamin C.


Interesting Facts:

  • The ancient Greeks used to sprinkle thyme in their baths.
  • Ancient Greeks burnt incense in sacred temples.
  • Romans used thyme as a treatment of depression.


  1. Fennel Seeds

Nutrition per 100g

Calories:  345

Fat:  14.87 g

Carbohydrates:  52.29 g

Sugars:  0 g

Fibre: 39.8 g

Protein:  15.8 g

Potassium: 1,694 mg



  • Fennel seeds may help to control appetite.
  • They serve as a remedy for halitosis (bad breath).
  • Fennel seeds help the digestive system & provide a cure for flatulence & colic.
  • They stimulate milk production when breastfeeding.


Interesting Facts:

  • The root of the plant was used in Shakespearian times to flavour an alcoholic drink featuring mead.


Things to Remember…

There are plenty of healthy foods to choose from but the real trick to optimal health & performance is:

  • When is the optimal time to consume the food
  • How much should you consume for optimal results
  • Eat fruit as a snack rather than with or straight after your main meals

Remember, when you eat too much of a healthy food or eat at the wrong times throughout the day you will tip your system out of balance carrying youreself away from your optimal state.

Watch for more articles about these points soon…


Finally, if you have been prescribed prescription medication remember to always check with your doctor before drastically changing your diet or exercise habits.



To Your Best Health,

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




To Receive Quality Info Like This Straight To Your Email: Click Me!


P.S. Keep an eye out for the next installments of the 100 Best Health Foods!








100 Best Health Foods, The ultimate superfoods for healthy living including 100 nutritious recipes, Love Food