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We have a wide range of articles about fitness, health and events at Active.

Read one of our many articles below by clicking on the title and after you have finished, let us know what you think by submitting a comment. What fitness techniques have you tried that have worked or failed? Is there a new kind of fitness class that we don't currently provide? What more could we do to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle?

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Healthy Mind Meets Healthy Body

Firstly, forget about going on a diet and commit yourself to a healthy eating plan. There is no mystery to this: simply avoid too much red meat, cut back on the alcohol, avoid ready-made meals and takeaways, avoid food with a high fat or sugar content and keep an eye on serving sizes. Secondly write down a list of your top priorities and consider what it will take to keep exercise and healthy eating at the top of that list. Thirdly, acknowledge once and for all that diet pills do not work and miracle exercise machines, such as those that you strap to your stomach while watching TV, have no hope of working either. And last but not least, lifting weights is the key to every fitness goal you have ever had.

Sounds difficult? Then consider it this way. You only need to keep one fact in mind - you have to expend more calories than you invest. That's it.

It is a physical impossibility to eat fewer calories than your body requires and never lose weight.

Here's where exercising your mind comes in - intelligence is a powerful weapon in the quest for a great physique. Common sense dictates that a 'virtually fat free' chocolate fudge cake sounds too good to be true. That's' because it is - it's a minefield of calories and hidden fat. OK, so it may not be fat before it hits your stomach, but once its in there, all excess sugar is converted to fat (and believe me, that's a lot of excess!) Even worse, the insulin produced by a high level of sugar promotes fat storage and disrupts your blood sugar so much that, in no time at all, you will be craving sugar again.

The good news is that if you reduce the sugar in your diet, your sugar cravings will immediately decrease. Diet meals are another minefield - often, calories are reduced by reducing portion sizes, leaving you hungry and more likely to continue snaking after dinner - and the salt content in snacks is often artificially high.

Healthy Mind Meets Healthy Body

Another way of exercising your mind is to acquire knowledge. Learn everything you can about the glycaemic index - a table that shows you how fast the energy from each food is released. Why is this important? Because if the food you eat releases energy too quickly, you ingest all the calories in one go and your body is more likely to store some of that energy as fat.

Foods that release energy slowly will keep your hunger at bay and will not promote fat storage. If you know you have a particular weakness, such as eating out, do a little research first - choose chicken tikka instead of a balti, or choose pilau rice instead of a naan.

Diet plays a key part in the quest for a great physique, but exercise is the other vital part of the equation. Exercise videos that advertise 'results in just 15 minutes a day' are not going to get you anywhere near the ideal physique that you aspire to.  Instead, regard the following three principles as the cornerstone of your workout.

Firstly, a great physique requires a great workout. Hit the gym until you find a sport or exercise class that you really enjoy, then log the man hours.  If you can't get to a gym, go jogging or walking instead.

You may want to enlist the help of a personal trainer for at least a couple of sessions to find out exactly what you need to achieve.

Secondly, go for quality, not quantity. Your workouts need to make you sweat and must provide a serious challenge. They must be regular and varied and get the results you are looking for.

Thirdly, you must include weight training in your workout. Especially if you want to lose fat. Why? Because muscle requires more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have in your body, the more calories you will burn, even when you aren't exercising.

So make this the year that works, by exercising your mind before exercising your body. It's a simple mantra, but believe me, it works.

As time goes by, increasing your knowledge of diet and fitness issues will make leading a healthy life easier and more enjoyable.

Written by Elesa Argent at 10:24

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