Our summer fruit salad

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(6 Servings)

Ingredients

1 punnet fresh strawberries

3 medium apples

3 medium oranges

1 Jar Maraschino cherries (optional)

1 can mandarin oranges

Directions

  • Have a large bowl ready to put everything in.
  • Hull strawberries and slice into bite size pieces.
  • Peel apples and chop into bite size cubes.
  • Cut oranges in half and cut out segments with a sharp knife.
  • Squeeze juices from remains into bowl.
  • Add the cherries and mandarin oranges, with juices.
  • Stir, cover and refrigerate.

Serve chilled.

Fat vs. carbs: the truth

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When you hear people debating the pros and cons of fats vs. carbohydrates, an entire studio audience rolls their eyes in your head. Everyone has an opinion on what’s bad and what’s good and that opinion seems to change every five minutes. Which is understandable, because there’s research happening all the time. Here’s the latest in the fats vs. carbs debate.

But first… why the bad reputation anyway?

Well, too much of these two important food groups can lead to weight gain and the development of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. It’s all about portion control and finding a healthy balance that works for you.

Not all fats and carbs are created equal

Categorising fats and carbs as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ can affect your health negatively. Here are some facts to consider before choosing fats over carbs or vice versa, or ditching carbs altogether.

  • Just by losing weight (whether you follow a low carb or a low fat diet to lose the weight), you’ll automatically reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
  • The majority of the fat that you eat should be in the form of mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and special focus should be given to the omega-3 fatty acids that offer cardio-protective benefits. In many cases, replacing saturated fat (meats like sausage, bacon and beef, and dairy like milk, butter, cream and cheese) with refined carbohydrates (white bread, sugary drinks, pastries) might be just as detrimental as eating the saturated fat. Why? Decreasing saturated fat decreases LDL (unhealthy cholesterol) levels, but replacing it with refined carbohydrates will reduce HDL (healthy cholesterol) levels and increase triglyceride levels, both of which increase your risk of heart disease.
  • In many cases, replacing saturated fat (meats like sausage, bacon and beef, and dairy like milk, butter, cream and cheese) with refined carbohydrates (white bread, sugary drinks, pastries) might be just as detrimental as eating the saturated fat. Why? Decreasing saturated fat decreases LDL (unhealthy cholesterol) levels, but replacing it with refined carbohydrates will reduce HDL (healthy cholesterol) levels and increase triglyceride levels, both of which increase your risk of heart disease.
  • There are different types of saturated fats, with subtle differences in their chemical structure. This means that some saturated fats (like those found in beef and cocoa) don’t have as negative an impact on cholesterol levels as other forms (like milk, butter, cream, cheese and ice-cream).
  • Replacing foods high in saturated fat with wholegrain carbohydrates can lower your risk for heart disease.

The best of both food groups

Focus on getting in plenty of wholegrain, unrefined carbohydrates, limiting your intake of refined sugary foods and saturated fat and increasing your intake of foods rich in poly and mono-unsaturated fats (plant based fats and seafood like olives, avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds and fish).

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What’s holding you back?

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We’ve all had an ache or pain that has prevented us from exercising or lurked longer than it should have. Some of us are guilty of ignoring these aches and pains and some of us try to find the quick-fix solution. But it’s really important that you treat them properly. Otherwise they could end up causing you even bigger headaches down the road.

Prevention is better than cure

It’s important to be aware of the two main factors that can put you at risk of injury in the gym. They are:

  • The wrong programme
  • Poor technique

Treating the injury

Make sure that you head off to the right health professional for guidance. Ideally, a medical doctor or a physiotherapist. They specialise in pain management for the entire body.

Once you’ve made it to the expert, listen to the treatment advice and prognosis (if you’re told to rest – rest!). To make sure you’re recovering, and to prevent the injury from happening again, especially if you’re a sportsperson, rehabilitation with a biokineticist is the way to go. You’ll rehabilitate, strengthen your muscles and improve your performance, but you’ll also learn which gym exercises are safest and most beneficial during your recovery. Win-win.

Coming back from an injury

Accepting your injury and treating it doesn’t mean you’re home-free. Here are some fine-print areas to consider:

Rehab after the session

Often, you’ll be given strengthening or flexibility exercises to do at home, together with aerobic activity. Don’t skimp on this.

Take it slow and listen to your body

Slow and steady wins the race. So take it easy and progress carefully.

Nutrition

Be aware of your calorie intake to prevent weight gain during this time. Keep an eye on what you eat. Why not visit our Eat section and get a new Meal Plan?

Lifestyle change

Your health comes first. Don’t sacrifice your commitment to yourself. It’ll affect your long-term well being.

Posture posture posture

At work, at the gym, in the car, even in a queue, make sure that you’re not slouching. This will lessen the risk of injury. It’ll also prevent postural aches and pains (like headaches or lower back pain.

Top exercise tips to avoid an injury

  • Make sure that your exercise technique is correct
  • Don’t rush your progress, take it slow
  • Everyone’s unique, so don’t use a friend’s workout, get your own
  • Cross train for variety and rest your muscles in between
  • Only increase strength exercise weight by 5% per week, or 5 minutes per session
  • Warm ups and cool downs are key. They help prepare your muscles for a workout or bring them back to rest
  • Rest between sets. This will also promote efficient strength work.

Getting hurt isn’t fun. To prevent even more unhappiness, give yourself the time it takes to heal. The down-time doesn’t need to wreak havoc on your goals… but it will, if your injury becomes a permanent fixture.

Pack a punch with your breakfasts

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The end of the year (and the possibility of much-deserved holiday time) is just around the bend.  That final push at work is already starting. Early mornings, late nights and deadlines can take their toll on our bodies, so it’s important to give them what they need to stay healthy and keep going.

Breakfast is a great way to kick-start a healthy day and keep your immune system strong

  • We need to eat to get fuel so starting our days with some food gives us energy to do to get through the day.
  • A well balanced breakfast should give us enough energy for a couple of hours, so we’ll be less likely to reach for high-sugar, low-nutrient snacks.
  • Add fruit to your smoothies, oats, granolas or yoghurt for a nutrient and fibre boost before the day gets going. Berries, pineapple, apples, pears, grapes, bananas and kiwis are full of vitamin C, antioxidants, fibre, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium and resveratrol.
  • Eggs are full of protein and protein gives our breakfasts an extra punch – making our energy last longer and keeping us feeling full. Add some green, yellow and red peppers, baby marrow, mushrooms or spinach to your eggs for a mix of fibre, vitamin C, iron and more.

We love that tasty, colourful foods can give our bodies the immune boost they need. Do yours a favour and make healthy, informed decisions when it comes to eating. Looking for some good ideas to start? KAUAI has some great breakfast options on their summer menu:

  • The Good Morning Wrap filled with a flavourful combination of free range scrambled eggs, smoked beef rashers, cheddar, fresh salsa and tomato. You can opt for a LC wrap (40g less carbs than the normal wrap) for an extra R8.50.
  • Another new one: the Breakfast Bowl – a satisfying and tasty combination of low-fat yoghurt, strawberries, banana, chia seeds, pineapple, toasted almonds and honey.
  • Looking for a fruit-based breakfast option? Try the new Chia Charge smoothie with banana, dates, chia seeds, cinnamon, fat-free milk and low-fat frozen yoghurt. If you’re watching your carb intake, the new Carb Conscious smoothie is definitely worth a try – a good-for-you blend of guava juice, strawberry and low-fat yoghurt.

Written by Lesley Scott, Qualified Nutritionist. All Good Things blog blog.kauai.co.za

Get fit for your sport at virgin active

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Some of us enjoy mountain biking, trail running or swimming in the sea, rather than exercising indoors. Some of us even compete in actual sports and sporty events, like triathlons. So why bother stepping inside the gym, especially when the sun is shining? Well, there’s a lot a gym can offer that your particular sport lacks.

Break out of your usual workout routine and hit the weights

If you’re a runner or cyclist, it means you’re doing loads of cardio, when you could also be benefiting from strength training.

Jean-Marc Johannes, one of our inspiring brand ambassadors, is a professional skateboarder who understands the importance of a strong core and muscles when it comes to his sport.

“In skateboarding, cardio is very important, but over time I’ve seen that explosive strength is just as important,” says Jean-Marc.

“On a board, you need to stay as light as possible, so it’s important to maintain a balance between improving your athletic skills and your strength.”

Tip: Ask one of our fitness instructors to show you the type of strength training and cardio equipment that will benefit you most.

Together with strength training, Jean-Marc also incorporates the explosive form of cardio: interval training.

Interval training on the treadmill

Interval training is all about burning calories faster. It involves mixing high-intensity bouts of exercise with lower-intensity bouts of exercise. And the treadmill is one of those pieces of equipment that allows you to embrace this kind of training technique.

Indoor cycling

No traffic, no wind, no worries. When cycling indoors, you can just switch off from everything around you and really enjoy your session. There is no need to stop for traffic lights either so that 20 minutes is all yours.

See if you can play with your speed and resistance to give yourself a better workout. How about trying out the Indoor Cycling or Ride group exercise classes?

Group exercise

Group exercise isn’t about fancy moves and choreographed steps: there’s a class for everyone, on any level of fitness.

Why not take a look at our timetables on myvirginactive? The red classes will improve your cardio fitness, the orange will improve your strength and the yellow classes focus on balance, stretching and flexibility.

Classes like Ride are specifically aimed at cyclists, while interval training classes like TS-10 and twentyfour are great for runners, swimmers and cyclists who are looking for indoor alternatives.

Swim

Interested in changing things up a bit? Try including one or two swimming sessions into your week. Play with your speed, and use flotation devices if you want to focus purely on a lower or upper body workout.

Strengthening your muscles and training inside the gym can give you a competitive edge plus score you a seriously hot body.

Discovery world triathlon cape town – are you ready?

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Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town was a great success last year and Virgin Active South Africa is continuing to build on its sponsorship as the official Health Club partner for the South African leg of the race.

So. If you’re looking for a new challenge or a way to increase your fitness, this is an event you should definitely consider.

When: 25, 26 April 2015

Where: V&A Waterfront

What you’ll be training for  

Swim: 500m

Cycle: 20km

Run: 5km

myvirginactive has your back

Whether you’re an experienced triathlon participant or a newbie, myvirginactive is there to support you every step of the way. You’ll have access to a specific 12 week triathlon training plan (available from mid-January 2015 taking you right up to the event), our awesome Track tool to help keep tabs on your progress, and loads of tips and advice to help boost your training. Register or log in today and see how myvirginactive can help you get ready.

Join us! 

If you aren’t competing next year, come anyway! We’ll be there with our Active Angels cheering on all participants and we hope to see you there! You’ll be able to see all the action, plus the V&A waterfront is making sure everyone is entertained on the day!

Watch some of the world’s top triathletes compete with some of our most enthusiastic, hardworking members and be inspired!

To those of you taking part, good luck!

How to prevent burnout

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We’re all guilty of it. As soon as the sun starts to rise a little earlier, we start the annual panic. We start a take-no-prisoners-show-no-mercy workout regime and we go full steam ahead. But this can lead to a serious burnout. Before we get to how we can prevent that from happening, let’s annihilate an old myth…

No pain, no gain?

The more pain we’re in, the more we’ll see results. Ah, that old chestnut. While it’s true that sore muscles are a sign that you worked hard, you should not be in constant pain. It shouldn’t hurt to sit down or lie down or stand up or basically any other movement.

Rest and recovery: why it’s so important

Any seasoned gym pro will tell you how important rest and recovery is. Training stresses your body – no doubt about it. But your body is very good at adapting itself to this kind of stress and, over time, will improve its own physical capacity. The problem comes in when we do too much, too soon – when we place our body under stress that it can’t handle. Even well-trained athletes experience fatigue and reductions in performance as a consequence of the normal training process. But, when the balance between training stress and recovery doesn’t match up, overtraining happens. Rest is essential for us to adapt and recover from exercise.

8 ways to prevent overtraining

  1. Track your training and how you felt in each session, to help you become aware of warning signs and symptoms.
  2. Track your heart rate each morning and after your session – keeping a record of this can help you recognise early symptoms like if your pace has slowed or if your resting heart rate increased.
  3. Ask a fitness professional if your workout routine is too much – we all have different training goals and respond differently to stress.
  4. Keep the balance – follow intense training sessions with easier, lighter sessions so that you can give your body a chance to adapt.
  5. Check your diet – if you’re exercising a lot, you need to make sure your body is fuelled. This way your body will respond better to heavy training.
  6. Cross-train – this is particularly important for runners who do monotonous high repetition training. Why not include some swimming, resistance training, cycling and yoga into your schedule?
  7. Take time off – after an event and give your body a chance to recover fully before returning to your usual training schedule. Schedule rest days following heavy training days. Remember that muscle adaptations typically take place on these rest days!
  8. De-stress – stress negatively impacts on your training. Adjust your training schedule if you’re battling with other stress in your life. You don’t need to try and “do it all”. Could meditation, yoga or tai chi be useful to you?