Nicky Beach is a trainee solicitor in the employment and commercial teams at TLT LLP. He is also a qualified personal trainer, with a keen interest in health, fitness, nutrition and sport, and has instructed and competed in various martial arts.
Nicky trained for years in Krav Maga hand to hand combat, under the International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF) and Krav Maga Maor, as well as under instructors trained in unarmed combat in the UK armed forces and Israeli Defence Forces. He is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, having also medalled in the sport, has fought in a Mixed Martial Arts fight and has competed in Freestyle Wrestling. The latter he became involved in after successfully gaining a place on SportScotland’s Gold4Glasgow talent programme. He is also a former policy director of the Scottish Wrestling Association (SWA)
Fed up with your families and frustrated on furlough? This article is for you! Health and fitness is crucial for physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise will be different for everyone and will not necessarily mean a one hour gym session. For example, I dislike running. If you ever see me running you should run too, as it is likely something is chasing me.
We must now adapt to a ‘new normal’. Normality needs re-defined and the world has changed dramatically in a very short space of time. Lockdown has also allowed people to explore some new hobbies. I have tried baking, but have found that flour has been more difficult to locate than PPE. I am convinced it will soon become a currency!
At the time of writing, nobody knows how long lockdown will last, but routine is required for good health. Working from home – or no longer working as the case may be – has impacted everyone’s daily pattern of behaviour. If you are getting up at the same time every morning, your circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock) will be regulated and your quality of sleep will be better. This will also have the positive side effect of increasing mood and productivity.
For those who previously struggled with time, the daily commute to and from work has been eliminated. Why not use this time to burn some calories?
Exercise is essentially anything that increases the heart rate for a sustained period of time. It can range from walking and running, to gardening and household chores – as good a reason as any to hoover! You can also get creative and use items and furniture in your house to aid workouts; for example using a chair to perform chair dips and elevated press-ups.
Schedule in some online Zoom or FaceTime workouts with your friends and family and bring out your competitive side.
Ensure you take regular breaks away from your screen. And make sure you stretch!
You may notice when exercising that some workouts are better than others. One workout could result in a new personal best yet another could feel like you have never exercised before. Why the disparity? Performance can be due to a number of variable factors, including your mindset. Goal setting, motivational music and watching videos of your favourite athlete can all contribute towards a focused mindset and a powerful workout.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” - Hippocrates.
People try to make this a complex topic, but it is not. Calculating your optimal calorie and macronutrient split is useful at a competitive level, but good nutrition is predominantly about making common sense food choices. It may be difficult to buy your normal ingredients due to the current supply chain issues, however basic nutrition advice is as follows:
- Cook from fresh wherever possible
- Drink plenty of water
- Consume a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and pulses
- Eat lean meats and fish (food philosophy depending)
- Remember portion control
To stay healthy you need to ensure that your body receives sufficient nutrients, minerals, fibre, protein, fats and carbohydrates. Whilst at the extreme levels of training and nutrition this can vary, in general terms, the advice stands
For those on a vegan diet or similar, try to ensure that you are not eliminating key vitamins and nutrients.
Ensuring that you get enough sleep is vital for good health and a positive mood. Some people seem to function on 4 hours’ sleep a night, others need 8 or 9 to avoid looking like an extra from World War Z.
To maximise the quality of your sleep, avoid caffeine from around early afternoon onwards and alcohol a few hours before bed. Do not eat a large meal shortly before lying down to sleep. Switch off from technology too and make sure that your room is tidy and clean. This will reduce dust and improve air quality – both factors that will contribute to a good night’s sleep. If you struggle to sleep, get out of bed for a short period of time until you feel tired again.
Stress arises from various situations, including those related to work as well as important life decisions. Some people cope with stress better than others. Regardless, reducing stress is important for physical and mental wellbeing.
When stressed, you may not want to eat healthily and will have little motivation to exercise. If the stress continues, you may become anxious. It is worth noting that not all stress leads to anxiety and it can actually boost performance. However, if the negative effects of stress continue, it can lead to depression. It is important to talk to someone if things are becoming too much. If there is no clear and obvious reason for feeling stressed then meditation may help in the first instance, but experts are available if required and there is absolutely no shame in talking with someone about how you are feeling should the need arise.
Hopefully lockdown will begin to ease soon, but it may be some time before we are back to relative normality. Furthermore, even if the government announces that we can all venture out, many will still be hesitant to do so. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy and I hope that the above advice helps you do just that.
For those that have any specific fitness and nutrition questions, please contact me.