#360fit: How does alcohol affect your training?

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If you have a goal in mind then don't give into peer pressure from friends.

If you are serious about achieving those fitness goals then you need to consider cutting out your alcohol consumption. Whether you’re looking to build a fantastic 6 pack of abs, or just lose a few pounds to fit into your favorite outfit, drinking that glass of wine in the evening may just be putting you back a step or two.

After a big night out, if you can muster up the energy to exercise the next day, you will find your training significantly affected. With alcohol being a diuretic (which means that your kidneys produce more urine) coupled with working up a good sweat in the gym, this can easily lead to dehydration.  With this then comes light-headedness, headaches and the feeling of tiredness.  On the other hand, the more hydrated you are, the better the flow of blood through your body which allows oxygen and nutrients in to your muscles. As Alcohol is not a nutrient, it cannot be stored as energy in the body and therefore it just turns to fat instead.

In addition to this, alcoholic drinks tend to be high in calories. Therefore, if your goal is to lose unwanted fat, than this task becomes twice as hard as your body tries to flush this poison out of you as well as trying to digest your latest meal.

Focus on your goal and discipline yourself to do whatever you can to achieve it.

For example, a standard pint of lager has the same amount of calories as a slice of Chocolate cake. So if you’re having a night out with your friends, where you’re drinking into the early hours of the next morning, you could have got through half or even a whole Chocolate cake just by yourself. In addition to that, a large glass of white wine could have the same amount of calories as an ice cream. Even though a neat shot of vodka, tequila or brandy may have the lowest amount of total calories, they still affect the body’s hormones in a negative way.  

For instance, the body produces a certain amount of natural growth hormone, which allows the building of muscle and cell development. This is generally released into the body in the early hours of the night whilst you are sleeping. As drinking alcohol can disrupt your sleeping patterns, it will disturb this process and therefore cause a decrease in muscle development.

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If all of that wasn’t enough, it can affect your ability to carry out a cardio workout also. As alcohol increases your blood pressure and your heart rate, if you were then to have a work out (which also raises your blood pressure and heart rate also) it will just make it feel considerably harder.

In conclusion, if you have a training goal in mind that you’re serious about, don’t give in to peer pressure from your friends forcing you to drink. It’s likely that one big night could set you back a week’s worth of hard training in the gym. Focus on your goal, think of how amazing you’re going to look at the end and don’t give up. First they’ll ask you why you’re doing it, but then they’ll ask how you did it!

James Chandler is general manager of Talise Fitness at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai.

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VIDEO: Dubai CrossFit coach John Britton on Ninja Camp Bali

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Dubai CrossFit coach John Britton also coaches at Ninja Camp Bali.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a modern day ninja? For individuals seeking adventure and a physical workout in beautiful surroundings, Ninja Camp Bali ticks all three boxes.

While CrossFit forms the foundation of the training at NCB, the experience is designed to mentally rejuvenate individuals as well as provide a fitness challenge.

Michelin starred chefs make use of Indonesia’s abundance of fresh, natural ingredients to ensure that athletes receive high-quality nutrition to fuel their workouts, whether it be yoga on the beach, surfing on the waves or lifting weights.

Sport360 visited Dubai-based fitness expert John Britton who alongside his day job as a CrossFit trainer is one of the coaches at Ninja Camp Bali. He put reporter Scott Grayston through his paces to see if he had what it takes to be a ninja. 

For more information on Ninja Camp Bali, visit their website here.

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Lifestyler with Josie McKenlay: The stress-reducing effects of yoga

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Stress relief: Uttanasana.

I received an email from a client asking for help to reduce stress and stay calm. She is fairly new to yoga and has some very strong physical goals which is where most of us begin our yoga journey, but there is deeper meaning to yoga and it can be transformational. Yoga is useful in helping reduce stress in many ways:-

Technique: Adho Mukha Svanasana.

► All yoga practice helps with stress in that you have to focus totally throughout your practice which takes your mind away from the source of turmoil. If you find your mind wandering during your practice, just bring it back to the deep breathing (which reduces stress anyway) and the technique, making small adjustments and being mindful of your posture.

► Mindful slow deep breathing not only during your yoga sessions, but as a stand-alone practice either seated or laying down will have an immediate calming effect. Whenever you are feeling stressed, just pause and start to breathe slowly and deeply. 

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► Inversions: Any posture where your hips are higher than your head as these poses calm the nervous system. Standing forward folds (Uttanasana), feet narrow and wide; downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana); shoulder bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), shoulder stands, legs up the wall with your hips elevated resting on a folded blanket.

Calm: Setus Bandha Sarvangasana.

► Nadi Shodhana: Alternate nostril breathing, closing off the right nostril and just breathing through the left nostril to activate the Ida Nerve Ending, which relates to calmness and relaxation. All of the above are forms of meditation. It works only through constant practice, so even if you just sit or lay quietly for 10 minutes a day breathing deeply and concentrating on the effect of the breath on the body or colours or anything that keeps your mind from wandering to the stressful stuff – this, over time, will help.

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