Healthy Eating – My Story

As some of you may know in the last couple of years I have changed my diet considerably. This was sparked when I started using and then selling Herbalife. The range of products helped me up my protein intake, eat less rubbish and gave me motivation to want to lose weight and eat better. I have since lost around 2 stone, my body has changed and as a result my performance in football and fitness activities has also improved. Don’t get me wrong, I was never massively overweight. I was a size 12, played football 2/3 times a week and exercised. The mistake I made was not eating the right things. I have a degree in sport and had knowledge about nutrition but never actually ate as healthy as I should have. Since changing this, it has made me realise how important your diet can be. You can’t out exercise a bad diet. 

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I thought I would share a few tips that have worked for me. 

1 – Making sure I have a balanced diet. Eating the right amount of protein, not eating too many carbs, more fruit and veg, healthier snacks, eating ‘good’ fats and limiting foods high in sugar and saturated fats are now all part of my daily regime. It is all about being organised and not eating just because you’re bored. I used to eat lots of pasta because it was cheap, I wouldn’t eat much protein, yet this is what helps build and repair our muscles. It’s vital to eat this after exercising for this reason. 

2 – Some people make the mistake I did, eat lots of carbs because you are exercising, but eating too many carbs when you don’t burn them off can get stored as fat. Now I eat brown pasta and brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, small changes that have made a big difference. 

3 – I also vary my training, I don’t just stick to running, or football. I include circuit training or high intensity interval training to challenge me. I also do weights twice a week to help build and tone muscle. Having more muscle uses more energy and therefore helps your metabolism. I am also more toned than ever because of this and my muscle mass and strength is always improving. 
 
4 – I eat a lot during the day. I have smaller meals little and often. I make sure I snack mid morning and mid afternoon on things like fruit, veg, nuts or eggs. Then I eat a smaller meals for lunch and tea. I don’t get bloated very often and it helps keep my metabolism going. 
 
5 – Drink lots of water. I make sure (well try) to have at least 2 litres a day. More if I exercise. It’s a natural fat burner and essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 
 
6 – Don’t get bored. If you’re too strict with your diet you will want stuff you’re not letting yourself have. Allow yourself a treat every now and again. This will keep you sane. As long as you don’t have too much of it, everything in moderation. 
 
7 – Mix it up. Don’t stick to the same foods all the time. It won’t be as sustainable. Find new recipes, change it up. There are loads out there. Make the effort to look. 
 
They are just few things that have worked for me. Eating clean and paleo foods are good. There are lots of recipes. I try new things. Thanks to Peanut Butter Boy – his blog can be found here. I tried a banana and peanut butter omelette this morning. It was really nice. Will be having that one again. There are lots of different recipes out there, its about finding ones that suit you and will help you reach your goals. 
 
Now I have changed my diet and lifestyle I know I will never look back. I have made eating well and exercise an integral part of what I do. And because of this my football performance has improved. Do not underestimate what it could do for you. You will not know how far you can go unless you push yourself and give yourself the best chance 🙂 
 

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Missed Opportunities

What is it with children these days not taking the opportunities they are offered for free. As you will know I have started a ‘boot camp’ at school for years 9, 10 and 11. The first session ran yesterday. We currently have only 13 pupils having accepted the challenge and taken us up on the opportunity. Only 1 of them is a boy. If something like this was offered when I was a kid I would have jumped at the chance. This camp offers two sessions a week of fitness, including circuits, different methods of training, a nutrition and cooking workshop and even a healthy breakfast club. This is aimed at changing their mindset and teaching them small things could make a big difference in their lifestyle. 

The question I ask myself is why? Why are pupils changing their attitude? What is more important to them than learning about how to lead a healthier lifestyle and getting fitter. Unfortunately, I feel there are a lot of answers to this question. These range from “I am already fit enough” to and I quote “I just can’t be bothered mam.” I want to try and change these attitudes. So many of the boys have been talking about Grand Theft Auto, I know its cliche to say this has impacted the youth but it has. They have too many video games, or smart phone games to play that they don’t want to take the opportunities that are handed to them. I hope they don’t look back on this when they have left school and regret not taking this opportunity. I sense I am not the only one having this problem, the motivation levels in PE are decreasing too. It’s been proven that pupils don’t like competition as much, yet lots of lessons end with competition. So what can we change to try and encourage them to be more motivated and to be bothered. 

As practitioners, I believe we need to work out what will motivate and drive the pupils to show the most progress. I also feel that if they are more motivated to exercise and take part in sport, it can teach them more social skills and have a knock on effect in their school life. I think more parents should encourage their children to exercise more often or to limit the use of their phone/computer console at an early age. Recently, a lad at school shattered his wrist and had to have it pinned. The first thing he said was “I won’t be able to play Fifa.” My first question would have been “Can I still play football?” And I am sure many other PE teachers would have posed a similar question. 

I still don’t know how to answer this problem, and I can’t provide a solution, but I am willing to work with my department and others of members of staff to try. Something needs to be done to get children to realise their potential and take the opportunities offered to them. If they aren’t willing to listen to us, then figures on obesity are going to rise. I want to help stop them. 

The Power of Sport

It has been a hectic couple of weeks back at school in the new year but my haven’t they gone fast. I have had the pleasure of attending the Active Dorset School Sports Conference which was held on Tuesday at Bournemouth University. It was an awesome day. There were NGB’s, Youth Sport Trust, Sport England, and a couple of guest speakers there, the School Games organisers for Dorset were also present. It was a truly inspiring experience. From it I have had lots and lots of ideas which I intend to implement over the coming few months. 

One of the speakers showed this video. I have since shown it in my assembly and to my tutor group. It really makes you consider how we can help the younger generation change their ways. I believe we as teachers need to do more to encourage all things sport. 

There was a recent figure released that 1 in 3 year 6 pupils are overweight or obese. This for me is a shocking figure. I believe there are a number of ways we can help change this affect on children. 

1 – As teachers we cannot make children eat healthy or change their diets. We need to help educate parents and get them on board. This needs to be done in both primary and secondary schools. 

2 – Improving the provision of PE CPD in primary schools for teachers who are not confident teaching quality lessons (some have only had 4-5 hours experience on their teacher training). I am planning on going into our local feeder schools to help deliver lessons and to encourage primary teachers improve their knowledge. With the money that is going to be injected into primary schools, this can pay for cover for secondary teachers to support the delivery within primaries. The idea would have to be based on key stages and varying the delivery giving them a whole range of ideas in a range of sports. 

3 – The power of sport – by using sport as a driver to encourage teamwork, communication skills and young leaders. There are many sports and generic games that can encourage children to improve in confidence. If this is built into them at a younger age then maybe, just maybe they will have improved confidence and motor skills when they arrive in secondary schools. Sport then also should be a key part of their school experience. It can have a knock on effect for their other subjects and will help them lead a healthier lifestyle. In theory anyway. 

This is just my opinion and it may or may not work. Only time will tell. It is a subject I feel passionately, I am not sure why, probably because I am a teacher and I am in this career for the children. At the end of the day we all want whats best for them. If this can help them leave school as a better, well rounded individual who has life skills and continue with exercise then we are happy. Watch this space. 

Back to School Blues – The 1st day back

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Whilst every parent, carer or guardian are very much looking forward to the holidays being over, and their children going back to school, I can assure you that there are plenty of teachers dreading that 6:30 alarm tomorrow morning followed by a busy week. I know I certainly am. A day of INSET, listening to exam results and the usual blurb. The feeling like you haven’t had any time off and still have as much to do as you did before the summer holidays. 

However, I am actually really looking forward to this year at school. I have a very hectic timetable, which this week involves 19 hours straight before a free….eurgh! Though, I do have lots of new ideas and things I want to try out. My previous blog discussed using social networking sites. After reading a few blogs about technologies and apps for teachers to try, I have downloaded the idoceo app on my ipad. This allows me to carry class data, my timetable and input pretty much anything I want about my teaching groups. I can then export this in excel which I think will be very useful for parents evenings and report writing if I use it as much as I want to. Another site I have since signed up to is Edmodo, I haven’t really got to grips with this yet but you can set up a closed group for your teaching class and upload work, polls, quizzes and all sorts. Both of these I am hoping to use effectively this year.

The problem will be trying to get other teachers on board who are set in their ways who may not be willing to try new things, but in my eyes, if you can’t beat them, then join them. We shall see.

I’m sure this week will be a struggle and I will be ready for bed at 7 on friday, but I am very much looking forward to the new challenges, new teaching groups and the exciting new projects I will create for myself. So if you are a teacher going back to school, I give you one challenge, regardless of your subject or experience, why not try implementing one new thing this year? You never know, it might make your year easier or more exciting!!