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Breaking the Bread Habit

breaking the bread habitNo matter how you slice it, more and more research is showing that bread shouldn’t really have pride of place in the modern dirt. Whether you are paleo, macrobiotic, or just watching your weight a little, cutting bread from the menu seems to correlate with less bloating, fewer sugary cravings, sustained saeity between meals, and better results aesthetically.

Despite all of that, bread has been such a staple for so long, that it’s understandably hard to just quit it, cold turkey.

We thought we’d share with you some of the best alternatives to bread we’ve discovered since…well, since sliced bread!

Portobello mushrooms:
Sandwiches are *the* most popular lunchtime meal. And a traditional sandwich is meat and/or veg, between two slices of bread. The bread essentially acts as a container for the inner filling (and possibly also a surface to house a condiment) but often can distract from the flavors within and fill you up before you finish all the good stuff in the middle.

Try replacing each slice of bread with a portobello mushroom. It achieves the same effect of ‘sandwiching the filling’, with the added bonus of adding nutritious protein and fibre to your meal! You can try pre-baking your mushroom slices or using them raw for different flavors – either way, your lunch will thank you!

Filling suggestion: burgers, ham and cheese.

Lettuce wraps:
In a similar vein, wraps have come a long way in usurping the sandwich market. We think corn wraps are in theory a great alternative to bread, but are wary of them because a lot of them still contain wheat.

Try wrapping your food in a fresh lettuce leaf instead. This adds a much fresher flavor to the food, and is a much lower-calorie alternative to bread or wraps. It’s a particularly refreshing alternative in the summer…with the added bonus that it looks so cool!

Filling suggestion: fajita meat, prawns and cole slaw

Stuffed bell peppers:
This is one of our favorites. Peppers are like the Tardis of vegetables – slice off the top, and you have enough room to house a whole meal within. It’s almost like storing your food in an edible pot!

They will enhance your food with a sweet tanginess, as they have more flavor than mushrooms or lettuce, and will add a delicious crunch to your meal.

Filling suggestion: tuna salad, egg and cress.

There are plenty of other ways to cut out breads from your diet. Try making pizza bases out of ground nuts, or dipping crudites instead of breadsticks in hummus and tapenades.

Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa are also great accompaniments to stews and curries, while lentils and legumes such as chickpeas help fill you up without distending your stomach.

Ultimately the best way to kick your bread habit is to get creative. Once you start, you’ll soon forget bread was ever part of your daily life.

Let us know how you get on, and share any great discoveries you make with us @AB_MXR!

Diet and exercise on the go

Diet and Exercise on the GOLet’s face it – for most people, diet and exercise, eating healthily and scheduling in exercise can be a struggle at the best of times. The human brain is a wilfull mistress, making us envy athlete’s physiques as we poke holes at our own, while simultaneously tempting us to stay indoors watching TV on our comfy couches while eating another bar of chocolate! And even if you have managed to get a good workout/life balance at home, your routine and will-power can be easily overthrown by business and holiday travel, and often, the effects of this will cascade into your life once you return back from your trip.

Here are a few helpful tips to help you keep on track during your travels:

  • Pick hotels with a gym and/or pool:
    Thanks to competition in the hospitality market, it is now easier and more affordable than ever to find a hotel with some sort of fitness facilities. And if you have access to a gym or a pool in the same building as your room, you will find it significantly easier to schedule in even the quickest of workouts within your day while you’re away.
  • Use exercise as an excuse to sightsee:
    If you are on vacation and feel that being indoors in a hotel gym is poor use of your travel time abroad, fair enough! Why not incorporate running or cycling into your sightseeing schedule instead? Urban walking, running or biking are great ways to take in a new city, discovering local amenities that would other sail by you in a taxi or on a subway, while still getting your daily dose of exercise.
  • Pre-book athletic activities:
    Of course sometimes, we have the best intentions to walk everywhere on holiday or work out every day, but when we land, all our resolve gets thrown out of the window because of maybe the weather, or other people’s agendas. One way around this is to pre-pay for activities as part of your vacation package like guided hikes, snorkelling, zip-lining or yoga, so that you have to follow through with them even if your will falters. The add-on benefit of this is that these activities will likely be new and different for your body, shocking it into getting fitter whilst you master a new skill.
  • Enjoy local meals, but take your own snacks away with you:
    There is no point travelling to Thailand or India, for example, and feeling like you can’t let go and enjoy local delicacies, even if they might be slightly out of your ideal diet. However, we find that it’s snacking that really gets us into trouble when we are away! Eating food on the go is tough no matter where you are, and often results in the consumption of quick, unhealthy, and heavily processed snacks with little nutritional value. To combat this, bring the healthy snacks you have incorporated into your regular life away with you, so if hunger strikes between meal times, you can much on a protein bar, or a bag of nuts, with impunity.
  • Drinking in moderation
    Yeah, yeah – we know this one is a toughie! If you enjoy alcohol and want to let go while away, or have to drink during business dinners on work travel, the key really is just to be aware of how much you are consuming, and to not allow drinking to derail your fitness goals while you are away. Maybe decide on how many units you are comfortable consuming per day or week you are away without your exercise routine being compromised [and stick to it!], or maybe only drink the alcohol that you find personally affects you the least the next day (we confess, that’s champagne for us!)

Finally, a cheeky self-plug! You might also want to stow away an AB-MXR in your hand-luggage! It’s the perfect piece of kit to take with you on the go – lightweight, highly versatile and chic! If you haven’t tried using one yet, order one and see for yourself.

And don’t forget to tweet us pictures of your holidays at @AB_MXR – we’d love to see where in the world you are!

Water Is Life – Body Training

Body TrainingWe touched on the importance of drinking water in our last blog, but thought it would be remiss of us not to let you know how beneficial water is to the training body all the time, not just when you’re hungry or sweating in the gym…so here is our timely water blog!

The current ‘heatwave’ we are having in London serves as a wonderful reminder of just how important it is to stay hydrated, especially as we lose 2.5 litres during the average day, only regaining 1 litre through food, with the remaining 1.5 litres in theory being replenished by our drinking water.

We all know that our bodies are 60% water and that water IS life…but here’s how being hydrated translates into your fitness goals.

‘Feeding muscles’: Water delivers oxygen to muscles in order for physical activity to be done efficiently. The more water inside the muscle cells, the better they function, and the more they increase in strength, size and capacity.

Also – want that protein to help your gains? Water absorbs the different nutrients in food & transports them through the digestive system, leaving the nutrients better and more readily absorbed by the body.

Drink water to make the most of your food!

‘Decreasing fat’: Dehydrated bodies retain extra water from cells (including fat cells), which causes bloating and weight gain. Sweating aside, alcohol, coffee, tea and fizzy drinks all act as ‘diuretics’, forcing water out of the body, leading to dehydration. If you cannot live without your liquid stimulants, you have to drink more water to counter their diuretic nature, and to purify your blood, preventing diseases such as hypertension.

A dehydrated body also causes your kidneys to malfunction, forcing the liver to work twice as hard and compromising its ability to metabolise fat, thereby possibly leading to weight gain.

We can hear you all reaching for your Evian’s already!

The biggest complaint we hear from our clients is that drinking more water throughout the day is a tough task, because it’s flavourless.

To those people we say: If you’re just not that into the (non)taste of water, try making your own flavoured water at home. Adding slices of fruits or herbs adds a subtle, delicious taste to plain water. Be it cucumber, lime or mint…find a way to make water an essential daily part of your life..and reap the rewards of a stronger, healthier body.

Fitness and the Elderly

Death Becomes HerFitness marketing has always traditionally targeted youth – those who are most likely the easiest to get into shape and keep that way. Slightly neglected are the older generation, to whom fitness and diet can actually have the greatest impact on their quality of life.

As we get older, our bodies start to succumb to the wear and tear of decades of use. Bones get weaker, joints become more unstable, skins loses collagen and therefore elasticity, your metabolism slows down and you start to lose muscle. While none of this is entirely reversible (and for those of you who have seen the 90s film ‘Death Becomes Her’, maybe that’s for the best!), as the owner of your body, it is your duty to stave off the effects of ageing for as long as possible, in order to allow you to make the most of your golden years.

We all want to have the energy to keep up with our grandchildren, and stay supple enough so we can bend down to pick things up off the floor, or even be able to open the lid on that particularly tricky jar of pickles. Ultimately, fitness isn’t about just looking good, it’s about being able to physically live fruitfully in our environment.

The important things to remember as an elderly exerciser are:

  • Avoid high impact:
    Bone mass declines as you get older, so in addition to making sure you are getting enough calcium in your diet, it probably wise to not put additional strain on your bones by pounding them with hi-impact exercise like running outdoors, step aerobics, or plyometrics. You don’t have to pound the pavement to get fit!
  • Train strength:
    Use light weights, resistance equipment or Machine Pilates to target muscle groups that will make your limbs and core stronger. Major muscles in the legs, buttocks, arms, stomach and back can be easily isolated and strengthened with gym equipment or even by following a home fitness DVD, and will respond quickly to gentle resistance, without injuring you.

    Stronger limbs will add a vitality to your life: the independence to walk to the shop and carry all the groceries back yourself, dashing to catch that bus, or catching yourself when you slip without falling!

  • Encourage flexibility:
    Flexibility keeps our joints younger, more fluid and preserves range of motion. As we grow older, without good range of motion in our joints, we experience more pain and this limits our ability to keep active and exercise.

    Stretching also helps preserve our posture, which is essential to combat the ‘shrinking syndrome’ of getting old, and in turn preserves the health of your back. Find a gentle yoga class to keep you limber for longer, and enjoy feeling the strain lifting from your mind and body.

Ultimately, exercise is a personal activity and no one regime will suit all. So just make the time for exercise as you get older, and find what suits your schedule and body.

Regardless of how you choose to do it though, keeping active as you get older is the closest thing to discovering the fountain of youth – so jump in!

Launch Event November 2011

November 2011 Launch Event 7The AB-MXR launched into King’s Road Sporting Club on 8th November, 2011. Dust PR put together an event to celebrate the first retailer for the AB-MXR with a mix of clients, customers, personal trainers, gyms and press in attendance.

The window of the store was taken over to create a strong impact for passers-by through building a pyramid of product boxes and hanging AB-MXR’s from the ceiling – along with models doing demonstrations! It drew plenty of attention and had the people walking by asking questions about the product and wanting to know more.

There were product demonstrations taking place in store with models showcasing the full range of exercises you can do with the AB-MXR which created talkability at the event and Joanna, the KRSC staff and the PR agency were on hand to answer the guest’s questions.

Joanna gave a speech about the evolution of the product and the thought process and creativity about the concept. Chiropractor Dr Mikael Porath Petersen also said a few words about the health benefits of the AB-MXR, as it was his input that developed the correct cervical support for the neck. Soon after people were flocking to the tills!

The event was a huge success will and the AB-MXR’s were flying off the shelves all night!